Development Procedures - where do you come in?

Subject: Development Procedures - where do you come in?
From: Liz -dot- Goodwin -at- ametek -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 08:05:40 -0500

Peggy Lee wrote:
Before completing my response to our V.P., I'd be interested in hearing
as many of you as care to respond.

1.) I'd like to know if you are involved in the early stages of product
development. If so, how early -- like preliminary design meetings?
2.) How useful is it to you to be involved in these early meetings?
3.) Do you provide a preliminary design of online help and manuals?
4.) Do you participate in peer reviews?
5.) Other opinions,issues, advice or ideas along these lines?

We have very formal engineering procedures set up (ISO 2000)and, as a tech
writer, I am included once the Product Development Proposal (PDP) has been
written. This document defines the product, the market and the milestones
for development. I am then involved in the weekly product meetings that
include all the engineers working on the project and finally, the monthly
business team meetings which include production, manufacturing and
marketing as well.

I think it is extremely useful to be in on all of the meetings because even
when they are discussing some esoteric point in mass spectrometry, I learn
something. The more I know about the product, the better I can document it.

I don't provide a "preliminary design," but I work closely with the
engineer who is designing the product to define the various modules for the
manual. Usually the software lags behind and we are always rushing to get
it finished. The online software usually does not appear until several
months after the product has been released. The user manual, however, does
include software instructions. So, we do the written manual first and then
work on the online help.

I am also a lone tech writer for this business unit and I do not
participate in peer reviews. I am, however, called upon to help select and
interview candidates when we are hiring for our other locations.

To mix metaphors - "It is better to be in on the ground floor, than to
stumble in the dark!"


Liz Goodwin
Technical Writer, Dycor
liz -dot- goodwin -at- ametek -dot- com

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