Interviewing subject matter experts (SMEs) is one of the key soft skills that an Information Developer should possess. Our job is to get the technical input and turn it into a clear and usable output: decide on what is crucial and what is irrelevant, structure the information, and illustrate it with examples or graphics. Still, the much-needed input resides in the minds of the SMEs, and we need to act wisely to retrieve it—in other words, to master the art of interviewing.
When you read the phrase ‘Move with the cheese’, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Cheddar? Mice? Monterey Jack? And another question: How do you react to changes? Anticipate them? Let them come by and immediately come along? Sit down and cry? If you pondered on answering those questions, you must be wondering, what on Earth this post is going to be about.
The skill of being a good detective lies at the very heart of the InfoDev profession. My personal impression is that among many other roles, such as being a writer, a linguist, and a “user prototype”, an InfoDev on a project is also a detective, an investigator – especially, at the early stages of involvement.
Imagine that you have just been assigned and welcomed to your new project. Congrats! Now, consider this scenario: “When you arrive at the scene, the crime has been committed, and the evidence is partially corrupt or hidden. The potential witnesses are reluctant to talk about what they saw, what they did, and where they were on that distant day. The culprit is on the run. You realize that what you deal with is a cold case”. Does that ring the bell? After a couple of days of work, does this detective story sound strangely familiar? Continue reading
You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.
Remember the usual TechComm trouble? Getting other people to acknowledge your presence and importance as a team member? Turns out practically everything that needed to be said was actually said a century ago.