Re: TWs in Product Development

Subject: Re: TWs in Product Development
From: Katav <katav -at- YAHOO -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 11:11:04 -0800

---"Hopkins, Sharon" <SharonH -at- CNRX -dot- COM> wrote:
> I would really like to hear from anyone out there who has experience
> input at this stage in the development of software. >
> Sharon Hopkins
> sharonh -at- CNRx -dot- com


Writers, also trainers and customer support types, (sometimes we are
one) should be involved from the start.

One (repeat, 'one') of their tasks should be to serve as user
(customer) advocates and here it helps if the /advocate/ knows
something about the product (goal) and the customer operations/use of

[Case in point: In the process of creating a PBX programming manual I
complained about - and caused to be restructured - the software
'tree.' The 'tree' was logical to the DEVELOPER, but not to the tech
who had to set up the 2k station machine in the field ... for those
who /speak/ telephony, I wanted ALL trunk info to be linked in one
logical path, not all (station and trunk) COS lumped together.]

If the writer/trainer/support people know what the product is to
accomplish, they can yell ''bovine excrement'' whenever the
design/development/marketing/engineering troops start going off in a
''bells and whistles'' tangent that lends nothing to the product's
functionality. (Course that's a two-edged sword; these same folks can
yell similar expressions when the writer wants his/her name in gold
foil on the manual's Morocco leather cover :-])

There are other war stories where the TECH WRITER either SAVED THE DAY
(bad grammar, but ...) - the time the TW asked the Chief Engineer
'Where's the ground wire?' and was told to mind his business ... until
a trainer got zapped, or when (same company!) the TW 'disassembled' a
machine and discovered a ribbon cable was a tad short. (Yanked that
rascal right off its multipin connector!)
I know Sharon Hopkins <SharonH -at- CNRX -dot- COM> is in a s/w house; while she
need not worry about green wire and ribbon cable, there are still
enough 'got_cha's' around.
'Support' staff should be involved up front; they benefit by knowing
what the developers had in mind from the beginning, they gain an
understanding of the developer's problems, and when they talk to the
developers, they aren't asking questions that already were answered in
development meetings. (Change 'development' to whatever word suits
your environment.)

How do people react when an 'outsider' makes a suggestion? If the
'outsider' is in on things from the beginning, the outsider is an
insider -- well maybe a 2nd cousin on a visit. Diplomacy is important,
and sometimes a chat outside ear shot of others is the best means of
communication. (Email to the developer with cc's to the world followed
by 'You dummy' in the body is **NOT** the most tactful method to get
your desires fulfilled.) If your initial suggestions are reasoned, not
only will additional suggestions be welcomed (unless the developer is
really a horse's posterior), but you'll be invited to participate on
other projects.

Should be fun. Enjoy.

Katav ( katav -at- yahoo -dot- com )
''Despise not any person and do not deem anything unworthy
of consideration, for there is no person without his hour,
and no thing without its place'' {Ben Azzai [Avot 4:2]}

Get your free address at

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

Previous by Author: Fwd: Up-to-Date American Idioms--new newsletter
Next by Author: Re: Question about Consulting
Previous by Thread: TWs in Product Development
Next by Thread: ADMIN: Posting Rules Reminder and Virus Information

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads