RE: Documentation planning (was Re: FW: Extreme Technical Writing )

Subject: RE: Documentation planning (was Re: FW: Extreme Technical Writing )
From: John Posada <jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 11:43:55 -0800 (PST)

> I think you may be making a mistaken assumption here. (Correct me
> if I'm
> wrong.) I should apparently clarify that at this point, no one has
> given
> you a request for a specific document or document type. *They*
> don't know
> what they need, and you are there in part to determine what their
> documentation needs are (that is why I detailed the scenario
> description the way I did).

When you are hired, you know what you are being hired for.

You may be hired to document an application. You may be hired to
write any and all help applications. You may be hired to write webs.
Doesn't matter...nobody is hired with the statement "Come'on
in...maybe we can find something for you to do."

If you are entry or middle level, you are told what your assignment
is pretty quickly after you get your phone ID and network logon ID
and password...usualy even before that happens.

In this case, get SOMETHING having to do with your assignment out
quickly. OTOH, this level of position doesn't require you to get the
lay of the land or meet with senior level people for fact finding.
This is only appropriate to senior level positions.

Now, IF you are a senior level position, I guarantee that by the end
of your first day (Monday), you have already figured out SOMETHING
that needs to be written. or maybe just rewritten. I'm not saying you
will hand in a finished deliverable by Fri., it may only be a
rewritten Intro. It may be a proposed TOC. If you truly are senior
level, you'll know what you can address. You'll aos know that by the
time you are finished, it is different than what it started out to
be...just like all of the other projects you'll ever work on.

Also...if you are senior level, the reason you are that level is
because you don't require someone to come to you and "...> [give] you
a request for a specific document or document type." YOU tell THEM
what documentation they need.

> Without knowing what the heck you're writing (is it a design
> document? a
> help system? requirements? a troubleshooting or procedural manual
> for a
> piece of hardware? a memo to say "here I am, look at me"?), how can

Does anyone get hired without knowing "what the heck" they are going
to be writing about?

John Posada, Senior Technical Writer
mailto:john -at- tdandw -dot- com, 732-259-2874

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