Where does Documentation belong?

Subject: Where does Documentation belong?
From: RShuttleworth -at- visualplant -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Mon, 9 Feb 2004 10:01:28 -0700

Hello All

I am having some discussions with others in the company about the place of
the Documentation section. Here is the scenario:

We are a recent start-up, software company of about 90 people. I came on
board 4 years ago as the only technical writer, producing user manuals and
Help, and was placed within the R&D department. At that time we had 13
employees. Now we have grown to 90 or so, and are likely to grow to 150 in
the next couple of years. We now have a second full-time technical writer.

While we still work mostly for R&D, we find that other departments
increasingly make demands on us. This includes process design, template
production and maintenance, reports, training materials, etc. As the
compnay grows there is more and more scope for our talents, that may
include financial report writing, policies and procedures, etc. If we are
not involved in these areas, there will be a lot of duplication of effort
taking place.

One of the issues we face is the question of advocacy when it comes to
budget allocations, etc. I don't think R&D really understand what we do,
anyway (they just accept that manuals are produced), but wherever we fit
we would need someone to fight our corner.

So we are looking at where Documentation belongs, and I'd like to draw on
the opinions of those who have gone this route. We're clearly not talking
about the IBMs or GMs of this world, but if you work for a small-to-medium
company, I'd be interested to know where you fit in.

Thanks for your help.

Roger Shuttleworth
London, Canada

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