Re: Preliminary results - Survey of writers in small and startup software companies

Subject: Re: Preliminary results - Survey of writers in small and startup software companies
From: "Michele Marques" <mmarques -at- cms400 -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2000 09:51:35 -0500

Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com> writes:

> This survey is fundamentally flawed because it only asked the opinions of other
> tech writers. OF COURSE writers are going to think their role in a small
> company is important. This survey would only be meaningful if a true cross
> section of business people including executives, engineers, venture
> capitalists, support staff, and sales and marketing staff were queried. As it
> stands, the survey only demonstrates that writers think they are an important
> aspect of their company.

Actually, I thought the survey results were interesting, but not
because of David's conclusions of the tech. writers playing an
important role. I thought the data was useful for recruiting at a
small or start-up company (or when thinking about whether to work
at a small or large company). Feeling that one plays a useful role
in a company can be a motivational factor and may help attract
technical writers and/or keep technical writers happy.

These feelings of importance are probably common to many people
working at a small or start-up company, not just technical writers.
With fewer people, each person's opinion is less likely to be
drowned out by others.

If the company grows, there is an opportunity for those who started
earlier to define their roles. For example, today I am a lone
technical writer, but on Monday I will be working with another
technical communicator. Before we advertised, I was told what my
boss would like the technical communications area to accomplish
within the next 6 months, and I got to define the job description for
the other position based on how I wanted to divide the tasks.

But this is not unique to technical writing. I have seen someone
move from Help Desk Support to Lotus Notes Administrator/
Programmer, as well as other career moves and developments
within the company.

Michele Marques
Lead Technical Communicator, CMS Manufacturing Systems
mmarques -at- cms400 -dot- com
905-477-4499 x280

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