God and the Technical Writer

by Mumpy

Below follows a short play featuring the God of Software (played by the Product Manager) and the Technical Writer (played by a technical writer).

Narrator: And in the beginning there was nothing. And then one day a huge bang was heard that echoed round the universe and when the smoke had cleared, all that could be seen was a giant Product Manager and a petite Technical Writer.

PM: Behold, I am the God of Software.  I am all-mighty and omnipotent.

TW: (interrupting excitedly): Oooh, omnipotent, I read about some good pills for that. Do you want me to get you the article?

PM: (ignores TW). I, the mighty Software God, have decided to do away with all the old Reports. <laughs loudly> Henceforth, it is decreed that we shall no longer have Reports.

TW: (breathlessly) Ooooh, no problem God. I’ve deleted 45 Reports and kept a spare copy just in case. And I’ve redesigned the Appendices so you’ll hardly notice anything missing.

PM: And lo, I have now created 100 New Reports (repeats loud echoing laugh). But wherefore shall I find a handy dominion to write descriptions for each new report?

<clock shows nine hours going past>

TW: I’ve spent all night writing the descriptions for you, your godliness. It only took me 9 hours and I was able to get a half-hour nap in before my baby woke me at 5am. Here they are.

PM: (looks at documentation confusedly and throws it away). We shall no longer have New Reports for I am God and I have looked at my New Reports and decided they must be destroyed in a terrible plague. Today, I have decided to keep the old Reports and rework them slightly.

TW: (somewhat manically) Oh, ok – no problem, no problem at all. Just give me a few hours.

<clock shows three hours going past>

TW: OK your all-mightyness, I’ve redone the Reports you asked for. Here they are. <holds out huge piles of paper>

PM: <turns away from TW> Behold the word of God, and the word is, we shall have new Reports after all. For I alone have the power to repeatedly change my mind for reasons that you know not forsooth. But they will not be the 100 Reports that you have prepared. O no, for they shall be brand, new glorious Reports that sparkle and shine and have never been seen before by the people of this Universe. And they shall require lofty, exalted descriptions. And so you shall sit, technical writer, with a company vice president, and you shall go through the new Reports with him and you shall return the descriptions to me and I will see it and it will be good.

<a clock shows two days going past>

Narrator: And the PM did look at the Reports and he saw they were good. And the PM did not say anything unto the technical writer, but several days later in a meeting, when someone commented on the reports, behold the PM did say, “Yes and I prepared the Reports and the Descriptions” and did not mention the technical writer.

And the technical writer did find out about this via the grapevine and lo, was the technical writer pissed off. And the technical writer turned her back on the PM and said, “Behold, I may only be a lowly technical writer but I will not work with that prat anymore”. And the PM was sorely displeased and there was much gnashing of teeth and wailing in the Company. And the goats would not lie down with the rams. And so it came to pass that a terrible famine came down on the land and in addition the PM came down with a bad case of acne.

Other episodes of Life as a Tech Writer. Mumpy also appears in the latest issue of the Why of Style, Collaboration. Also, have you read Mike Altman's Why am I a Tech Writer column?

Complete list of columns at elephant.org.il