Re: Technical Writing, QA, and Training

Subject: Re: Technical Writing, QA, and Training
From: "Dana Worley" <dana -at- campbellsci -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2001 22:22:52 -0700

Mark Eichelberger asked:

> 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?

> How many Technical Writers on the list currently have an
> organizational structure where Technical Writing is a part of
> Quality Assurance?

As an Applications Engineer in the Software Support Group, I was
hired to write help & manuals, provide customer support when our
front line AEs could not answer the questions, test software and
provide feedback on interface design, and periodically conduct
customer training.

I LOVE the amount of variety in my job!

We have monthly 3-day training courses at our office for
customers. We are lucky that we have a fairly large pool of
individuals to pull from, so I teach only every 4 months or so. Yes,
it can be very draining, and when training is going on I don't get
much else done, but it is also very rewarding. As others have
mentioned, what better way to learn about your audience?

As far as product testing goes, that too, can be enjoyable. (No, no,
I'm not sick. Have you ever done alpha testing? Let's see.... how
many ways can I find to make this stuff crash & burn?) And, once
I've spent a number of hours turning a piece of software inside and
out trying to find problems, I also know the product inside and out.
Who better, then, to sit down and write the documentation?

I think you have to look at this as an opportunity to learn your
customer and your product even better than you do now. And, the
more skills you have the more valued you will be as an employee
and respected in the eyes of your peers.

Dana W.


Develop HTML-Based Help with Macromedia Dreamweaver 4 ($100 STC Discount)
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October 24-27, 2001 at historic La Fonda in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.

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