RE: Technical Writing, QA, and Training

Subject: RE: Technical Writing, QA, and Training
From: "Giordano, Connie" <Connie -dot- Giordano -at- FMR -dot- COM>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2001 14:50:58 -0500


All of the above!!

Seriously, I work as an internal trainer, tech writer, spec writer/UI
designer, and have spent 95% of the last four weeks as a QA person (major
release coming up next week, and short-handed, as always). There are many
of us out there who actually like wearing all the hats, but that isn't
necessarily so for everyone.

One potential approach is to position your department as a liaison and
support department to both training, and product development. If you have
the resources to handle the variety of assignments, you have the ability to
serve as the central point for all communications about the products your
company develops and supports. Some staff will naturally gravitate more
towards one than the other, but you have a marvelous opportunity to expand
your skills sets. And, it's one of the few ways that the right hand can
actually know what the left hand is up to. It requires that you manage your
resources very closely, and that you have the clout to assign those
resources according to the corporate objectives, not departmental

Our structure has us (two whole writers for six software products) reporting
to Product Support, which troubleshoots installation and implementation of
our applications. I have "dotted line" responsibility to the project
manager for one major product, where I have both QA and Documentation
duties. It works extremely well for us, but we run very lean.

Why split one support function (training and installation) from the others
(QA, documentation, and product design)? That kind of territoriality can be
really counterproductive. Been there way more times than I like to

Think about ways to make the lemonade here. You have the opportunity for an
almost fresh start, position your department strategically, not tactically.


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

"Tell me and I'll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me,
and I'll understand." - Native American Proverb

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark -dot- Eichelberger -at- Aftech -dot- Fiserv -dot- com
[mailto:Mark -dot- Eichelberger -at- Aftech -dot- Fiserv -dot- com]
Sent: Friday, March 09, 2001 2:30 PM
Subject: Technical Writing, QA, and Training

Folks, I am in the middle of a political battle here at my organization and
I would like to get some information from others in the field.

[snip] Of course, now that Manager of Training has resigned, the
technical writers fear that the Director will hire a manager more in line
with his philosophy and the result is that we will be forced to take on
training assignments.

While the obvious first reaction we are experiencing is to begin to look for
alternate "career opportunities", I have some questions for the list
members. Do any Technical Writers on the list have experience in both
training and technical writing and are they called upon to perform both
roles? If so, have you developed any strategies to make it work? Has it
been very difficult to handle the responsibilities of both roles?

One last point...During the course of documenting products, we often work
with our Product Development and Quality Assurance department in the
development of functional specifications and testing of software. This
relationship has developed over the past 2 years and we would really like to
see the Technical Writing staff become part of this department (and split
off from Training). How many Technical Writers on the list currently have
an organizational structure where Technical Writing is a part of Quality

Thanks in advance!
Mark Eichelberger
Technical Writer
Mark -dot- Eichelberger -at- Aftech -dot- Fiserv -dot- com
610 993 8000 x534


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