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Robin Willard asked "Please share what TYPES of writing "projects" you
create for yourself
when on the bench. An example would be Analyzing the Top 10 Problem
Reports from Customer Support, as someone suggested in an earlier post
for a slightly different situation."
Personally, I take any kind of slow time to learn new technologies.
I like to choose a technology (my most recent being DocBook and SGML)
and find a project that "needs" my latest interest.
I have found myself more able to learn something new when "under the
gun" on a project. If I'm just learning for the sake of learning,
my attention wanders and I'm unable to learn anything solid.
Most recently, I took a loose directive to create a technical
guide for our customer care team and turned it into a knowledge
base project using DocBook, CVS, and some business practices
thrown in for good measure. When assigned, this was one of those
open-ended projects. I had no due-date and was asked to fit it in
around other mission-critical projects.
So, my list of projects for slower times includes:
* Troubleshooting guides
* "How I do my job" (see note below)
* Internal training materials
* Internal software documentation
* Quality assurance plans (providing assistance only)
Note: The "How I do my job" documents have proven very useful to me.
I work in a very small company and am the only tech writer. The same
was true at my last job. I kept a running document of how I did things,
where files were located, etc. This doc was open-ended. When someone
offered to help with docs, I showed them my "How I do things" doc
first. This got them up to speed without my attention -- a huge
help in a time crunch.
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