Re: Internal Communications

Subject: Re: Internal Communications
From: Scott Turner <sturner -at- mail -dot- airmail -dot- net>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2000 10:57:33 -0500

OK, here's the background... I am the technical communications manager for a
software company. We have doubled the number of employees and quadrupled
revenues in the last four years. I year ago there was just three writers
(myself included) and reported to one of the VP, so there was no "docs
manager." At the beginning of this year I was asked to manager the group and
we have grow to 9 people (including myself). You get the picture, a lot of
growth in a short period of time.

One of the biggest problems now is getting the information we need to write
docs. A couple of years ago the entire technical staff (programmers, QA,
docs, technical support, etc) were all on one floor. As changes were made to
the programs, or new programs where initiated, you just heard about it. Now
we are spread out between four buildings with the docs group in a Victorian
house down the street. We have all kinds of information management and
communication issues as you might imagine. Not too long ago I got a call
from one of our tech support people who said a customer was asking about
docs for a particular program... the kicker was this was the first I had
heard of this program!

There are not project teams, there are no design specs. Things are very
informal. So getting information is difficult. I have considered insisting
on a formal request system for docs, but because the cultural of this
company I am sure it would meet a great deal of resistance.

Anyone out there in a similar situation that has found something that works?
Anyone out there with a more formal system of communication that works?


What you need is an organized way to develop your products. As if anyone has heard of "project management". If each product is developed within a project, and each project has a pool of developers, marketing, documentation, etc, assigned to it, you have the start of the communications that you now lack.

Secondly, look into some of the project management tools that are available. For the most part they are VERY expensive. And most will not apply to your situation. Rational Rose is one such tool.

Scott Turner
CSI, Inc.
Engineering Services, Senior Technical Writer
scott_turner -at- csicontrols -dot- com

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