Obama and Great Expectations

Obama’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.