Getting Writers up to Speed - Please Help!

Subject: Getting Writers up to Speed - Please Help!
From: "Michelle Parcell" <Michelle_Parcell -at- g1 -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 15:48 -0500

Hello, all! I've undertaken a project as a grad school assignment
(although it also will greatly benefit me at work), and I need some
help. Believe it or not, although my company has had an established
documentation department for several years (at least 10), it has not
been standard practice for the writers to use the software about which
we are writing. We rely on specs and experts' review for accuracy.
Needless to say, along with other issues, the documentation lacks some
essential information that would not occur to an SME who is providing
specs. Therefore, I'm looking for best practices regarding training
and product knowledge for writers.

My questions are these (please feel free to answer any or all):

1. Does your company have an established training regimen or product
orientation for new writers? If yes, please explain, providing length
of time in training, nature of product orientation, etc.

2. If you didn't answer question 1 or feel the practice could be
improved upon, what do you think is the best method for educating new
writers on products?
- How long should training last?
- How does this training affect the workload of the new writer (does
he/she take on projects or focus solely on learning)?

3. How does your company handle training existing writers on new
products?
- How long does this take?
- Does the writer continue to work on existing projects or focus
solely on writing?
- Is it possible to have multiple writers learning new products, or
does that affect workload too greatly? Is staggering the training a
more feasible option?


Feel free to provide any additional comments or suggestions regarding
product knowledge. I sincerely appreciate all responses and
information. Please respond to me offline, as I subscribe to the list
in digest.

Thank you!

Michelle Parcell
Senior Technical Writer
Group 1 Software

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