RE: Technical Writers who write functional specifications

Subject: RE: Technical Writers who write functional specifications
From: "Tasha Lennhoff" <tlennhoff -at- open -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2001 16:20:39 -0500

Cathy wrote:
Today I was asked whether technical writers write functional specifications.
My first reaction (and response) was that no, software developers write
functional specifications. I discovered later, in going through the list
archives that technical writers do write functional specifications.

In order for a technical writer to write functional specifications, what
does she need to know? Is this a sort of promotion or a type of job hybrid
(tech writer/business analyst)? Or perhaps it depends on the company size
and/or view of what technical writers do.<end>

I have worked with engineers on developing specs at a couple of companies.
We go into an office or a room and they talk as I write. After the meeting
I organize what was said and make it as clear as possible. They review
that. We repeat the process as frequently as needed. I'll also check in
with the engineers several times during the project to see if we need to
update the specs to match the code. I've found that working with the
engineers at this stage of the project makes my job easier as I know what is
happening right from the beginning and can begin developing or updating my
docs as well as have a better idea of the scope of the project. The
engineers usually appreciate the help as writing is usually one of the jobs
they like least.

Just my 2 cents.

Tasha Lennhoff
OpenService, Inc.
mailto:tlennhoff -at- open -dot- com

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