RE: Ideal department

Subject: RE: Ideal department
From: "Giordano, Connie" <Connie -dot- Giordano -at- FMR -dot- COM>
To: "'Teresa Scheuerman'" <t_scheuerman -at- hotmail -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2000 11:45:13 -0400


My less-than-humble opinion for whatever small amount it might be worth.

If your company is so small that you have little trouble getting stuff from
your SME's, don't sweat it. Over the years, I've worked for relatively
small companies, sometimes as part of R&D, sometimes as part of client
services. It never made much difference in the long run. As long as you
have interaction with R&D, QA, and implementation resources, you should be
able to accomplish what ever tech writing projects are set before you.

The real trick is to make sure both client support and R&D functions
understand the importance of communication, particularly when new products
are under development. Every department has a stake in producing a
high-quality, intuitive, and easily accepted product. Far too many software
companies do not matrix their development efforts to the extent that
everyone with a stake in the outcome has ownership of the project.

If you're writing strictly development or internal documents, by all means
move to the R&D side. If you, like many of us out here in la-la land, do a
bit of everything, it often makes more sense to be your own department,
assigning resources to specification, user support, marketing or any other
writing projects as needed. A hard sell to say the least:) Since writers
often get assigned this way anyway, a lot of companies assign their
technical communication resources to a services/support department.

If the move to R&D is not in the future, at the very least, get your folks
assigned to the development e-mail groups you need. That's a pretty quick
fix, and can get you started in the loop. You'll probably have to always do
some hunting, but at least as good writers, you'll have a head start.

Good luck

Connie Giordano
Senior Technical Writer
Advisor Technology Services
e-mail: Connie -dot- Giordano -at- fmr -dot- com

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
- Arthur C. Clarke

-----Original Message-----
From: Teresa Scheuerman [mailto:t_scheuerman -at- hotmail -dot- com]
Sent: Tuesday, July 25, 2000 11:28 AM
Subject: re: Ideal department

Tom - I think you have mis-paraphrased my original post - I'm currently in
Client Services (which is separate from Marketing) and think I should be in
Research and Development (which is separate from IT). The R&D manager seems
to agree with us that we should be in his department. The move has been
raised and at least my manager in Client Services and the President of the
company didn't seem to like the idea.

The SMEs are very helpful when we search out information. A couple of them
are trained and remember to pass information on. The rest of them don't
think of us, and I believe it is because we are not visible. We are not on
the R&D e-mail distribution list so they have to consciously think to send
information on to us, which doesn't seem to happen all that often.

Your thoughts on the business case are fine except that I think it's more
someone not wanting to let go of us rather than someone not wanting to take
us on. I believe it's all to do with the perception that the books we put
out are services to the client. The director of R&D sees it the same way as
we do, the others see it as a service. I do believe it's all politics, and
in such a small company I find this sad and disturbing but not bad enough to

look elsewhere. I was just interested to hear whether there was an ideal
place for us or whether we should just be happy with where we are and get
used to hunting down who and what we need.

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