RE: Alligators everywhere

Subject: RE: Alligators everywhere
From: Jim_McAward -at- Ademco -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2001 08:38:03 -0400


Feel free to apply "McAward's First Law of Business Success", which is to
remember your "real" job description (as opposed to whatever may be on your
business card). Your real job description is to make your boss look good -
he/she wouldn't have brought you aboard if you didn't show that potential.

Your case is trickier than most... you need to find out
a) who your boss is (or who is the most senior of the three PMs you
describe), then
b) find out what products/projects interest her/him the most, then finally
c) construct your priorities based on that data.

IMHO: If your boss has a marketing bent, he/she may be most interested in
how the documents "look"; if he/she is an engineering type the critical
feature may be technical accuracy, etc.

Don't be overly concerned about the tool set... those choices tend to make
themselves based on the kinds of documents you're already managing. But DO
concentrate effort on data hygiene in your department, especially if finding
the latest source file of something is difficult.

When asking questions of your boss(es); it's easier for them (and more
'managerial' for you) to say,

"I could do A, B, or C... I chose B and here's why. Do you agree?" In
practice you're making choices based on your experience and judgement yet
offering your boss veto power over your decision. It's much easier for them
and gives you instant lattitude... as compared with:

"I could do A, B, or C. Which one should I do??" This approach encourages

Best regards, and I'm sure you'll impress them by pulling rabbits out of
your hat for years to come ;-)

Jim (survivor of 12 bosses on two jobs spanning 7 years...)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

James G. McAward
Director, Technical Publications
Syosset, NY USA

Hi, all. Hoping I could get some opinions from the
group. I've been tossed into a Tech-writing blender
with a new position I've been in for about a month.
I'm the sole tech writer for 3 product managers,
handling about 90 internal and external documents. On
top of this, previous tech writers have created a
mish-mash of formats, styles, processes, etc., which
make no sense in the known physical universe. In
other words, I'm going to be busy for the next eon or


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