Re: Keeping track of software changes

Subject: Re: Keeping track of software changes
From: Chuck Martin <cwmartin -at- US -dot- ORACLE -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 1998 10:54:06 -0800

I can't address the specific question off the top of my head, but even
if there is such software, it would only serve as a Band-Aid over the
real problem you describe: your developers.

This is an example of a case where you have to almost be more than
assertive, where you have to almost force yourself on your developers,
reminding them constantly that you are part of the development team and
that you have to be kept in the loop. Are you going to all the
development meetings where changes are discussed and plans are reviewed?
Is your office/cubicle in the same physical area as the developers'?

At a previous company, when I started going to development meetings, the
project manager questioned my need to be there. As i learned about the
product, I began making suggestions in those meeting. Then I began
filing bug reports (and defending them) in meetings. By the time I
decided to move on, that same manager was quite sorry to see me go,
saying that it would be almost impossible to find another "me" in the
future. With my focus not only on writing, but usability and interface
design to make the product easier to use, I eventually got as one of my
assignments the task of literally developing the UI of a new product
before the coding would even begin.

Oh, and there's one other thing that I have used successfully, a method
that was recently derided in an STC publication: bribery. It may be
stereotypical, but greasing the programming skids with plenty of snacks,
donuts, and fresh-baked goods is a way to keep you in the minds of the
programmers. The more they think of you, the more that they are aware of
your presence, the more they will remember to keep you in the loop when
they make changes. Eventually, the tide will turn and they will ask your
opinion of changes before they are even made.

Katherin Stanzler wrote:
> We have a problem where developers make changes to the GUI without notifying
> Doc, and we find out after chapters have gone out for review that the screen
> shots are wrong. How do you make sure Doc gets notified of ALL changes to
> the GUI? Is there a system or a software product that ensures that this
> information isn't lost?

org:Oracle Developer
email;internet:cwmartin -at- us -dot- oracle -dot- com
title:Principal Technical Writer
fn:Chuck Martin

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