RE: Where do we belong?? (and SME's again)

Subject: RE: Where do we belong?? (and SME's again)
From: "Giordano, Connie" <Connie -dot- Giordano -at- FMR -dot- COM>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2001 09:41:51 -0400


Obviously you're getting as many opinions as there are subscribers. From my
experience, I formally report to Product Support. I'm the doc lead on three
development teams. I work actively with implementation and business
analysis, and always do QA. I write marketing stuff as required (and
actually enjoy the dark side). Make your place! It tends to be a lot easier
to do so in a smaller, matrixed organization where teams shift as the work
does. That's one of the reasons I enjoy software so much.

What disturbs me about this discussion and the recent SME discussion is this
ongoing assumption that technical communicators are somehow less integral to
product development and delivery than "engineers" or "marketeers". And yes,
many people on this list do assume it. "make nice with your SME's" "how to
interview your SME's", and so on. Nonsense.

Engineers aren't always the SME's. Yes for the highly technical, black box
kind of stuff. But business analysts, QA folks and project managers are
also SME's, particularly for B2B software applications. And believe it or
not, so are you. You know more about how people acquire knowledge, how they
use software, and how to present the knowledge so they can use the software
than anyone. It's about basic professionalism--treat everyone as an expert
in their own particular arena until they prove otherwise. Stand up for what
you know, and be willing to contribute.

Learn the organization's information flows. Often in a software house
(especially startups), it's better to be in engineering in order to grab
information and influence design. However, corporate cultures vary
tremendously, so study it before you make a recommendation. And take the
lead on your area of expertise. Your much more likely to be able to direct
your own destiny.

There, I feel much better now.

Communications SME
Connie Giordano

-----Original Message-----
From: Ramaa Venugopalan [mailto:ramaa_17 -at- rediffmail -dot- com]
Sent: Thursday, June 07, 2001 6:00 AM
Subject: Where do we belong??


Can someone tell me, where the Technical Writing Team would fit in a
Software Product Company? In the Product Engineering Team or the Product
Marketing Team

Would highly value your opinion, especially if it is based on the structure
in the company you work for.

Thanks so much.



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