Resplendent in glasses and the look of intelligence?, not a bit of it...after all these years I have to admit that my teacher Miss Cradock was right after all, I didn’t stop and it did ruin my eyesight..
Sometimes, It's just good to get out of the office, switch off all the screens, forget to pick up the mobile, remember to leave the laptop in the car, just grab a notebook n pen and write in an old-fashioned way. Who said The Black Country is not a beautiful place.....
It has taken me over 40 years to understand that knowledge and experience are the biggest influences in putting together the contents of an O&M Manual. Along with this image, there is a misconception that through the subconscious, I will know the products used and system installed without being told.....
"Arhhh", says Harvey "That's how it works"
A Sideways Look
Why use two words when you can use thirty
A Shockin' Memory
Technical writers have bad memories, that's why we are always asking questions as infuriating as that is, every time we think we learn something, someone else changes the rules, and specs' and drawings and systems
When Technical Documentation Goes Wrong
A harsh lesson learned. One thing relied upon with almost every job, is the effort and complexity involved in the process will be much higher than the presumptions of anyone who's never done it themselves.
Many highly educated managers and subject matter experts assume that creating technical documentation is as simple as putting pen to paper or setting up a laptop and just writing.
Critics will begrudge having to hire a technical writer because after all, everyone on the project team can write, can't they?...... These same managers are invariably amazed to discover that documents they have slapped together are intelligible and boomerang back for a rewriting exercise.
How Valuable is YOUR Time?
You certainly must have experienced the table-thumping frustration when that third or fourth email arrives red-lining a Manual you spent hours and tremendous effort putting together usually from a generic brief offering little guidance other than a conceived general list of headings.
What an absolute pain having to scroll again through the long-ass list of information, files, dates, methods, equipment schedules, maintenance, the records go on and on and at a time when you are already fully committed to other projects and deadlines.
Oh! and by the way, it must be revised and sent back within the hour.
Getting to know who's who...
When starting a new project, it can be very tempting to focus just on an immediate stakeholder team such as the Line Manager, The General Manager, their colleagues, and named others
If no efforts are made to discover the extent and number of all the stakeholders involved, then a nasty surprise could be lurking just around the last corner.
Particularly in larger organisations as evident when discovering that focusing on a sole contributor, usually the order placer or the installation engineer, there are more stakeholders in the loop than was ever imagined.
It is often at the Review Stage that the new critics can make themselves known, they appear in their masses from previously unchartered satellite offices and could have a far greater say in the final delivery of the project than the local team may have.
The Review Process once considered a formality becomes a laborious operation with previously unknowns wanting to raise varying points.
The Tech' Guys want formulas, the Engineers need their opinions known and the Cleaners, who are happily oblivious that V=IR or that Ohms Law is proportional to the current resistance.. more importantly, know exactly where to plug their vacuum cleaner in