RE: Bitterness toward technical writers

Subject: RE: Bitterness toward technical writers
From: "Le Vie, DonaldX S" <donaldx -dot- s -dot- le -dot- vie -at- intel -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2001 12:45:53 -0800

Good points by Andrew and Elna. I think that we sometimes are to blame for

the bitterness or the attitudes expressed toward us by others more
technically oriented. As Andrew has pointed out, we sometimes focus too much
on tools, fonts, dangling participles, style guides, and other processes; we
debate about what we should call ourselves: information
designers/developers/architects/specialists/poo-bahs; we often complain
about not getting any respect from other functional organizations; we become
enjoined in discourse over whether Web is spelled with a lower case "w" or
not, and so on. And the enginners and developers know this. We won't be able
to garner the respect or regard with the engineering/development
organizations until we can address the issues of providing value-add content
that transfers knowledge to customers (however you define "customer") AND
develop a valuation methodology (NOT with the use of meaningless mechanical
quality metrics) that can assign a quantitative value to our contributions.

This is indeed a most difficult task. The IT industry spent more than 10
years trying to find valuation models that confirmed their existence as a
contributor to the revenue-generating stream. CEOs today don't laugh when
they are asked "What is the ROI for your IT organization?" If it is
difficult or even impossible to develop valuation models for technical
communications, it may be more realistic to develop models that can provide
a quantitative estimate of the cost of NOT having a technical

This is one area where there has been little work or progress, but is one
that holds promise for breaking the shackles of second-class corporate
citizenry for technical communications professionals.

Donn Le Vie

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