Mona Lisa smile

Mona_Lisa,_by_Leonardo_da_Vinci,_from_C2RMF_retouched

Back on the subject of how part of our job as technical writer’s is to ask questions about the projects we work on. In 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen and it took a whole day before anyone realised something was amiss. Most people thought it had been taken down for repairs or to be photographed. How could no one have noticed that something was wrong? Because, we take it for granted that the powers that be are in control. And, if they don’t notice that something is wrong, the general public tend not to either. Everyone in the Louvre thought someone else knew where the Mona Lisa was.

The same type of scenario can play out in companies too. If there are any vacuums in areas of responsibility, issues can go unnoticed.

One place where the alarm signals can be detected is in documentation. It can, for example, show in documentation reviews that there are things amiss on a project. I have been involved in projects where different reviewers have had different definitions of a technological feature under development. The scary thing was that it turned out the specification for the feature was not thought out well enough and there was no watertight definition. Thankfully, the issue was raised from the review and resolved.

But, it is a case in point of the type of beneficial knock-on effects of our role in a company.

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