Re: Core Skills for Technical Communicators

Subject: Re: Core Skills for Technical Communicators
From: "Tracy Boyington" <tracy_boyington -at- okcareertech -dot- org>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 01 Dec 2000 13:30:31 -0600

I agree with Sandy that particular assignments will always have additional requirements, but that's why they're not part of the core - because they're particular to those assignments. I also agree with her comments about team processes and interaction... I would add "works well with others" to Mike's original list.


Tracy Boyington tracy_boyington -at- okcareertech -dot- org
Oklahoma Department of Career & Technology Education
Stillwater, OK

>>> Sandy Harris sandy -at- storm -dot- ca> 12/01/00 11:47AM >>

Methinks particular assignments will nearly always have additional requirements.
The above are almost never enough to do any particular assignment well.

For example, suppose the assignment is to document some piece of software
your company is writing for, say, corporate accountants. To do this well,
you need at least a basic understanding of:

accounting problems and how accountants describe and deal with them
software issues and your company's development techniques

Yes, you can (almost inevitably, will) learn some both as you go, but
you need enough background in both areas to do so quickly.

and also:

I think you need an interest in, or at least willingness to learn about,
aspects of the documentation problem that go far beyond merely writing
well. Indexing, documentation structure beyond the level of just doing
an outline, visual aspects of presentation, usability testing, ...

Then there are a whole set of issues around process and team interaction.
How do you
acquire info, and maintain the relationships with SMEs?
get reviews and signoffs done?
plan for document changes?
budget time and resources?
deal with product deficiencies or design questions
that come up when you're documenting?
In some situations, you can leave most of these to doc group management.
However, that isn't always the case, and even when it is, you'll still
have your part to do.

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