People keep asking my why documentation takes so long, and why I can’t work any faster.
This behavior is a result of a speeded-up workplace that eats into everyone’s personal lives to the point where instant gratification is the only way they can cope. I searched for a long time for some mystic horseman’s word that worked on executives, but never found it.
To compensate for the erosion their personal lives, stressed-out people distract themselves with consumer gadgets, which in turn creates a black hole of need. This consumerism spills over into the workplace in the form of fantasy schedules involving other people’s time.
People assume that anything they don’t know how to do themselves should take no time at all. They don’t see all the effort that goes into creating the gadgets that they take for granted, and it’s out of sight, out of mind. Think of your manuals as cheap gadgets rather than wondrous works of art, and if this seems depressing, go buy something on Amazon.
On a company-wide level, planners have been seduced by metrics to the point where people think that if they can put it on a spreadsheet, it must be reality. The numbers offer a false sense of omnipotence that is lacking in real life. It’s so easy just to divide something by 2 and then pass around the Kool-Aid.
My experience was that no one ever listened to why things took as long as they did, no matter how much I cited my work logs showing all the wild goose chases that had to be factored in. The writer is somehow expected to know what absolute minimum standard of quality is needed to keep cranking things out to meet some ill-defined business need.
I’m trying to come up with some actual advice here, instead of what I did, which was eventually to resign. Actually what I did was ask a bunch of other Tech Pubs managers how they scoped projects and staffing needs at their companies. They all had reams of great advice, none of which worked for me – but what I learned gave me more confidence that these problems could be solved… elsewhere.