Re: Where does Documentation belong?

Subject: Re: Where does Documentation belong?
From: Isaac Rabinovitch <isaacr -at- mailsnare -dot- net>
To: techwr-l
Date: Sat, 14 Feb 2004 18:00:30 -0800

Andrew Plato wrote:

I've talked this over with my R&D manager and he is open to change. In
fact, he can see Docs becoming a company-wide resource. I just have doubts
that we would have enough clout to get the resources we need.

Clout is not "given" it is earned. This is the fundamental problem with most
tech doc groups - they want authority bestowed upon them. In the corporate
world, you must work to acquire authority through demonstration of capability
and shrewd diplomacy. If you sit around waiting for somebody else to grant you
power, you will be waiting a very long time.

All in all, a good working philosophy -- and not just for tech writers.

Furthermore, the only way doc groups earn clout is to become masters of
information. If you focus your efforts on style guides, fonts, templates, and
other incidental stuff, I can guarantee you nobody will care. That stuff isn't
even remotely interesting to anybody (except other tech writers). You have to
focus on information, knowledge, and making things better (i.e. selling more

Ideally, you'll have the the technical savvy to be the master of technical information, the business savvy to be the master of other kinds of information, and the publishing savvy to do all the "incidental stuff" (which is important too, even if non-writers find it boring).

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's ubermanager!

However, if you actually did this, most technical writers would loathe you and
be utterly incapable of working in your group.

No, because as ubermanager, you'll have all the charm and charisma you need to bend your writers to your will!

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