Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Amateur's Eye

Most of us have groaned over the inability of technical writers to craft instructions that can be easily understood by non-techies. Why, we lament, don't they run these by some regular Joe (or Jill for that matter) who would mention that turning the ectoblaster counter-clockwise is a little hard to understand when the ectoblaster isn't identified and, incidentally, can't be turned?

And yet in all fairness we should admit that our own noble professions can be just as insular when it comes to getting outside input. "We know better" is the unspoken mantra. The idea that some unschooled outsider could contribute to our knowledge or improve our operations would be quickly dismissed if it were even surfaced.

As a result, we crank out procedures and develop grand programs that the folks in the front line have to work around. They sit through the briefings and think, "How can I prevent this from interfering with my ability to do the job? How can I do enough in this area to make these people go away?"

Every time they do so is an indictment of our failure to involve key players. Rather than ascribing bumpkin status to anyone who can't appreciate the beauty of our efforts, we should be asking them about our ectoblasters.


Anonymous said...

Excellent! D.

Michael Wade said...