Re: new manager, need advice

Subject: Re: new manager, need advice
From: Tom Murrell <trmurrell -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 9 Oct 2001 11:30:07 -0700 (PDT)

--- Evelyn Barker <thehatband -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote:
> We are having to educate the Alpha team that
> documentation is not written in a day and that it's
> crucial that the writer be included in design and
> functionality meetings.
> How can I help the latest writer succeed?

First, you need to meet with the managers involved, probably both the project
managers/leaders and their managers. You need to get buy-in for your writer to
be appropriately involved in project activities and have access both to the
information already developed (requirements, design documents, drawings on
backs of napkins, whatever).

Next, have daily (or more often, if necessary) communication with your writer.
How are things going? What problems or issues does the writer have? How is the
writer dealing with things? Offer help wherever you can: advice to the writer,
follow up with the appropriate managers where you can help smooth the way.

>From the sound of things, this isn't a project you can just throw a writer at
and expect the writer to solve all problems alone. Still, encourage the writer
to work out all the issues he or she possibly can. You're letting the writer
know that management backup is at the ready when needed. (You want to take away
the writer's excuses as much as you need to remove obstacles.)

> I want to insulate the writer from as much heat as I
> can, but I don't want to come across as a martinet to
> the rest of the company. I don't think a lot of strict
> lines of authority and rules are going to help, but at
> the same time the writer is concerned that he will be
> pulled in a thousand directions by the competing Alpha
> project leaders.

Personally, I don't think you can insulate the writer, and I'm not sure you
should. Instead, your focus should be on paving the way, making it as smooth as
possible--it will never be totally smooth--for the writer to do the job. Then
you want to work with the writer on the writer's project plan so the writer
knows what needs to be done and when. In this way the writer can avoid being
pulled in so many different directions. Make a plan and work the plan.

Of course, the plan has to be flexible, and you need to come across to others
in the company as someone who is working for the success of the project. So I
think you have to do your job as manager/leader for the writer. Oh, and don't
be afraid to involve your boss when necessary. But also make sure the writer's
ducks are properly aligned.

Finally, keep after it. More often persistence will get you more than crying
and screaming will. Keep your writer's spirits up, and keep your writer working
toward fulfilling the documentation plan for the project.

Tom Murrell
Lead Technical Writer
Alliance Data Systems
Columbus, Ohio
mailto:tmurrell -at- columbus -dot- rr -dot- com
Personal Web Page -
Page Last Updated 07/15/01

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new manager, need advice: From: Evelyn Barker

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