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That’s No Moon®: Documentation Update

by Geoff Hart

Previously published as: Hart, G. 2016. That’s no moon®: documentation update. Intercom April: 32.

[Internal memo. Security clearance: “need to know”]

We at Imperial Elegance in Electrical/Engineering, Practical Construction Subdivision (PCS), welcome you to The Loop®, our internal newsletter for those who “need to know”. If you don’t need to know and you’ve read this far anyway, please report to Security. They’ll know why.

The subject of this memo is the series of catastrophic failures recently suffered by our That’s No Moon® line of weapons of mass destruction. In the first case, our Six Sigma (SS) team apparently failed to note the lack of a cover for a single exhaust port in our prototype of the Peace Star Mark I. (Please refrain from using the epithet “Death Star”, which was spawned by those rebel scum... about whom, more anon. The official slogan of the That’s No Moon® line is “peace through superior firepower”®. Some collateral damage is inevitable, but to be regretted.) The documentation team responsible for this omission have been reassigned to prestigious new duties documenting outputs at the Tauntaun barns captured from the rebel scum on Hoth. We’re told they’re enjoying their new experience with “single sourcing”.

Although the noble efforts of the SS to “leave no port uncovered” prevented a recurrence of the former unfortunate incident, Peace Star II suffered a similarly ignominious fate. Apparently, it was unwise to leave the reactor core unshielded and open to space, thereby giving the rebel scum an opportunity to penetrate deep within the hull and initiate an Unscheduled Total Energy Emission from this powerful, efficient, and affordable new power source. Although our new policy of housing the technical communication staff with the project engineers had the laudable effect of spurring them to ever greater efforts to document every last aspect of the project, it had an unfortunate side-effect: getting too close to the product created what the forensics team described in their post-mortem report as “engineering tunnel vision”.

We thought we had things fixed with the documentation team for Peace Star III. The content management and reuse team had wisely backed up their files via STCloud®, so there was no loss of information when Mark I and Mark II of the Peace Star were lost due to action by the rebel scum. This let the new team hit the ground running. However, the surviving members of PCS admitted, under careful interrogation, that the traditional mode of document engineering was slow, inefficient, and prone to a recurrence of such errors. Under pressure to come up with a better approach, a junior team member suggested the adoption of something known as “Agile” development.

Although Senior Management (led ably by CTO Snoke) fully supported this effort by removing all obstacles to Agile adoption, and our Imperial Stormtroopers enthusiastically embraced the concept of “scrums”, this approach also failed. Once again, the rebel scum managed to penetrate our defenses and cause premature termination of the Mark III.

We are left with the inescapable conclusion that somewhere within PCS, there is at least one mole. We therefore urge all employees to remain vigilant and to immediately report any suspicious behavior (e.g., object levitation, mind control attempts by non-managerial staff) to your team leader. If necessary, escalate that report to CTO Snoke.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Editorial Team, The Loop®

A few notes about the in jokes for those who aren't technical communicators:

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