So, it would seem that getting my hands on the Help and User Guide documents to edit and update is proving to be quite difficult.
For some reason, when our marketing/web designer/tech-writer was let go, the user guide and help file projects were handed to our QA team. Which struck me as odd. I had been reviewing the files in the past for Steve (the tech writer) and that relation ship seemed to work well. I was getting deeper into the actual creation of content and had -thought- was being groomed to take it over at some point.
Turns out I was wrong. Even though when I was hired on, I pushed the idea that I wanted to move into technical writing and was given complete ownership over the knowledge base because of that desire; Even though I had been asking very pointedly who was going to be owning these files now that Steve was gone; Even though I had already been doing that job at a lower level, I was seemingly overlooked as a possibility to take the user guide and help files too.
I wasn’t asked if I wanted that project. And when I asked, I was told the QA team would be handling it.
Now that the QA guys have it (only one of the two is actually creating the content), I was pushing to at the very least HELP with it, since they are also busy working on getting the new desktop app tested and fixed. Everything was going well until yesterday. Jay had sent me (and Matt) the help file to review his changes. And that is pretty much all I got.
Now let me back up and explain for a bit: The help file is actually a .hlp file which is called by our desktop app whenever you click on a “?” icon in any dialog. This launches the contextual help for that specific dialog. At this point, Jay has only updated maybe 12 portions of help text corresponding to these dialogs, which leaves approximately 90% of the file untouched. The problem came when I had to figure out what he had changed. When I asked for a listing of what he had worked on so I could review ONLY what he had updated and not the entire file, I received a vague list of items which proved difficult in helping me locate the modified help items. When I asked Jay what these corresponded to, I used one as an example. From his e-mail, with the app and help file in front of him, he couldn’t even tell me which help dialog the example referred to.
And this is where it really turned on me.
My job is dependant on the help files and user guide. If it weren’t for these resources, I would have NO time for anything but training users. Because of this, I am very committed to seeing these docs updated appropriately for the new version, if for nothing else but to save me time. I want to help. I am trying to help. And I am asking to help. But when I can’t even find the portions of a file which have been changed, and the person who made the changes can’t find it for me either, then I CAN’T help. And damn if I didn’t get frustrated.
And my frustration caused Jay frustration. So he said “thanks for your help” and “don’t worry about it”. Twice. And again in an email I received this morning with the updated help file and some fixes noted.
So in no uncertain terms, I have been told that I am not needed when it comes to helping with the user guide or help files. The holy grail that I have been searching for here has been swept further away from me. And damn that pisses me off. I am back to just support again. Hopefully when we hire the second person to help with implementation and support, I can take ownership of the help and userguide files in a coup d’etat style move.
I need this. It has been my carrot for far too long here. Unless I can shift my position to less customer contact and more content creation for user self-help, I am not going to be happy. I have been front line support for far too long. I need to be in a position now to do the time consuming research and writing and not have to answer e-mails or phone calls that interrupt me at the most in-opportune times. It is time for me to let someone else take the calls and e-mails while I work on other more pro-active projects, rather than re-acting all day to customer problems.
In other news… well, there really isn’t any.
Dinner with meg and Craig tonight, dinner with Roni and Eran tomorrow, and then dinner with Colleen Tom Terri John and Mary on Sunday. Then off on Monday to recover.