Product management uses technical writer focus groups to force teams to write FrameMaker documentation with Word.
TechWhirl has uncovered evidence that Adobe’s documentation team is allegedly in the throes of an uprising-of-sorts due to the sensational claims made recently by an ex-employee. The very disgruntled ex-employee, who said everyone in the team called him Sloppy Joe, told TechWhirl that “all product documentation for Adobe FrameMaker is done using Word!”
Sloppy Joe disclosed that Adobe had provided him and his fellow technical writers considerable freedom to choose the right tools for their job. He said “For almost four years I created learning resources for Adobe’s products using the Adobe Technical Communication Suite. But recently, after I moved to the FrameMaker documentation team, product management announced that they wanted us to use Word for our daily technical writing needs. They went on to use our team as a focus group to study the behavioural patterns of technical writers who use Word.”
The ex-employee claimed to have resigned, citing that it was very difficult to write his FrameMaker documentation content using Word. He mentions, “it took considerable time and effort to edit documents which involved mixed page and custom layouts or large number of images/videos. The worst part was that it crashed frequently when we tried saving documents after making critical updates. And every time we cussed or thumped the desk in frustration, the FrameMaker team representatives would nod and take fervent notes on their iPads.”
‘Sloppy Joe’ went on to compare his experience at using Word to create large complex documents that needed multi-channel publishing with “using a hair trimmer to mow his lawn.” Ironically, the alleged incidents took place amidst the Adobe FrameMaker team’s recent big launch of the socially driven #WriteRight campaign, targeted at technical writers who still make do with Word for specialist technical documentation projects. The campaign and its microsite asks technical writers “Do You #WriteRight?” Joe alleges that the website code documentation contained the hidden phrase “LOL suckers, we don’t!”
TechWhirl investigation into these allegations has not been able to substantiate the existence of hidden phrases, nor work products produced with any tools other than FrameMaker. When we reached out to the Adobe TechComm team for its official response they responded with a blog. Click here to read it.