RE: New Hires
Mark Baker summarized several interesting points about the future,
People will cease to own a development project from
beginning to end. Technical communication departments will be staffed by
specialists in a number of different areas who will attend and manage a
central information repository.
In my opinion, this viewpoint probably represents a future, but not the
whole future. Case in point: the STC Special Interest Group for Lone Writers
currently has 904 members. Each of these individuals is the entire technical
communication department for an organization and, I am sure, owns several
projects from beginning to end.
As long as technology companies staff their technical communication
departments last and lean, this state will hold true for a significant
number of technical communicators.
In the software industry, isn't it also possible that the lone "writers" will do less writing and more template support, editing, programming, and publishing, with actual writing being done increasingly by SMEs and designers in an organizational structure that might be seen as a virtual tech comms department. I see this happening for tech comms departments of more than one person. The driving forces include requirements for multiple outputs, multiple software products being produced from common source, decreasing cycle times, more focussed marketing strategies, and the slow but hopefully continuing rise of user-centered design.
What it all means for project ownership I don't know. Maybe it depends on how the organization defines projects and ownership. Mark talked about ceasing "to own a development project from beginning to end", not a documentation project.
mailto:scharker -at- connectives -dot- com
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