RE: SMEs and me

Subject: RE: SMEs and me
From: "Christensen, Kent" <lkchris -at- sandia -dot- gov>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 09:48:26 -0600

re: ... yes, you do have to get along with him [SME], but no, you do not
have to do things his way (unless your boss tells you so)

Pretty naive statement, I'd say. Whatever happened to "the customer is
always right?" Sounds like the motor vehicle department. The tech writer's
customer is always the SME. The external customer belongs to the SME, i.e.,
the team or person designing the product. I don't think this formula varies
from company to company.

I once joined a writing organization where equipment maintenance procedures
were written by the SME (engineer) for the engineering drawing system and
subsequently provided to the "writers," who simply formatted them into end
user maintenance manuals. I offered that if the engineers just gave me a
demonstration, I'd write the procedures from that. They were happy to take
up my offer, and pretty soon my work not only went to the manual for
external customers but to the internal engineering drawing system as well.
Customer service. Efficiency. Procedures written by a writer. Some
procedures needed to get to the field fast. We caught up the engineering
drawing system after the fact, but we had the words, approved by the
external customer, so it wasn't a big deal if they were "late" to the
internal system. Customer service. Customer compliments.

re: Question: How often do SMEs give you their write-up of a manual, or at
least the information, before you start on your work? Response: Get
information *before* I start work? Can I get a job there?

Sounds like someone looking for job of ... secretary. Another list
altogether.




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