TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Start with a description of what you actually do right now. Chances are
you'll find that you're already covering the ground, they're just looking
for a way to formalize it. Then consider the options and ideas you'll no
doubt receive from the whirlers. How can you best integrate those ideas
into what you believe the company wants you to do?
Here's how I would summarize and add to Bill Swallow's excellent start:
Summary: develop and distribute user assistance programs and services to
support development and release of company products.
additional job tasks (o' course this is what I do, and not necessarily
indicative of what others may do in similar situations)
-analyze and develop business process flows
-participate on product concept and design teams
-develop and edit functional specifications under guidance of product
-develop user interface designs to meet functional requirements
-assist QA with testing software under development
-write documentation plans
-add documentation/user assistance tasks to project plans
-develop on-line help
-write, edit and produce user and systems documentation
-capture and edit graphics as needed.
-develop style guidelines for documentation and UI
-shepherd the review process for all user assistance projects
-revise user assistance projects
-participate in contingency planning efforts
-write and deliver training programs for clients
-write and deliver internal training
-assist as needed with intranet and internet content development
-publish manuals and guidelines to intranet and internet
-evaluate tools and emerging technology for use in improving user assistance
with company's products.
-advocate, research and propose usability testing and improvements to
company's products and user assistance.
-provide status reports to project and company management.
There appears to be some debate by the managers in my organization as to
what my job entails. There is no job description for the position and it
has become apparent that I was assigned some tasks that a Business Analyst
has been developing. So now the discussion has begun, what are my expected
duties. One manager believes I should write SRS's & SDD's (which I have
experience writing) and White Papers and another believes I should work on
analyses of reports, developing client software/hardware survey's and
recommendations, and training manuals.
I did check the archives and found the following list by Bill Swallow:
* evaluate software, write instructions, write functionality descriptions
* test software, find bugs, handle client-specific issues
* create graphics, publish to print publish to PDF
* publish to HTML, create online Help, provide internal training
* troubleshoot documentation tools, audience analysis
* research emerging technologies, Web design, template control
I would appreciate any other job duties that may or may not (Business
Analyst) apply to a Technical Writer or perhaps a better definition of what
a Business Analyst and/or Tech Writer do. I realize with that sentence I am
asking for trouble.
Thanks - and thanks for all who responded to my DTP XML question. We are
considering ArborText's E3, Epic Editor tool.