Re: Handling the anti-team situation

Subject: Re: Handling the anti-team situation
From: "Christensen, Kent" <lkchris -at- sandia -dot- gov>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2001 10:42:16 -0600

re: The problem occurred when a new manager took over the company's newest,
most technologically advanced product. This manager is very firm about
creating a team environment within his product. To that end, he requested
that the new technical writer be removed from the technical communications
department and placed solely within his product group.

Well, I, too, favor the decentralization of tech writers and feel it a bit
pre-judgemental to label this notion "anti-team." A good tech writer will
indeed find others at the company (even at TECHWR-L) for peer review and
other questions, and there certainly can be company-wide standards without
there being a centralized organization of tech writers.

In addition, it's good for tech writers to "understand the personalites" of
techie types, I think, and at least where I am, decentralization and "doing
it ourself" is a commonly practiced approach. Generally speaking, the
techies will resist your bureauracy and paying for the overhead of a
centralized tech writing department--the techies will see for sure as
"overhead" the cost of the department manager and costs of things like
"planning for the future--new technologies, new roles," etc. Clearly the
customers have to see your overhead as value and not as entitlement.

This budget stuff is in addition to the "divided loyalty" thing--but,
frankly, any tech writer that needs "protection" from the "customers"
provided, for example, by a tech writer department supervisor, is in trouble
anyway. But, with the good ones, it's better to own than to rent.


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