Obama and Great Expectations

Image result for Obama hopeObama’d out yet? Tired of the media’s “all Obama, all the time” coverage? Thought you might be able to escape it in this column? Sorry – no such luck.

Tip: To increase the readership of your docs, include Obama in the title – the Obama User Guide, the Obama Release Notes, and so on.

No individual in recent memory has set expectations so high. A financial meltdown, two wars, the Middle East conflict, and the ongoing war on terror, to name a few. We want all this fixed. Now, please.

Congratulations, Mr. Obama – you just won the most difficult job in the world.

Obama will painfully learn the primary rule of the working world: set expectations low, then exceed them.

In technical communication, management has two expectations:

1. The documentation will be completed on time.
2. The documentation will be good quality.

These are the expectations. We know the reality. Always under-promise and over-deliver. If you think it will take a week, say it will take two – it probably will.

Imagine two writers each completing two equally-sized projects in the same amount of time and achieving the same level of quality. One is a hero; the other a failure. The only difference? The documentation quality and development time that was promised.

Let all the players know: you can have it right or you can have it fast. You have a choice to make. Have the “audacity” to make a good one.