Re: Product management and the technical communicator

Subject: Re: Product management and the technical communicator
From: "Gene Kim-Eng" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
To: <technicoid -at- cableone -dot- net>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 2004 06:29:35 -0800

My transition was the reverse, from product development/management to
management, and I'd say you have the functional similarities pretty well pegged.
similarities, which have been pointed out by others, are that because you're
about the business side of the product process as well as keeping the technical
side of
product development moving according to schedule and on-track, you'll continue
to be
regarded as "non-technical" by engineers (and technical writers) who always seem
think that perfection is not only achievable, but justifies late delivery. As
far as the
sales and financial aspects are concerned, I'm as involved in market analysis,
and costs as a publications manager as I ever was, but this may just be because
higher-ups know I can do it.

So what exactly makes you think this will be a "new challenge," other than the
increase in your workload and the size of your responsibilites...? :))

Gene Kim-Eng

<technicoid -at- cableone -dot- net> wrote in message news:229963 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-
> I'm considering a foray into product management and would like to hear from
anyone who has gone
> from technical communication into product management. The required skill set
seems to be pretty
> similar to that required for a technical communications consultant: assess
your customers'
> needs, define the business requirements, determine the options available to
you (given the
> technology, current state of your product, and overall product and marketing
strategy), and
> propose a set of features to meet the business requirements. I guess some
models (like
> Microsoft's) include the drafting and maintenance of functional specifications
as well.
> I currently supervise a small documentation group and will probably have to
continue to do so if
> I take on any new responsibilities. The current product is an accounting/POS
system for a niche
> market. Although the system is complex (a matter I'd like to address over
time), changes to it
> are relatively small in the scope of a single project (at least in terms of
the user
> experience). We have additional products that supplement our main product's
> Frankly, I need a new challenge, and this path seems to be one that the
company's needs
> currently dictate. I see a lot of potential for improvement in this product
and a few
> opportunities for future products.
> Any suggestions, caveats, or tangential comments?

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