Re: Documentation vs. Training

Subject: Re: Documentation vs. Training
From: aklemmer -at- factset -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 2 Jun 2004 15:00:24 -0400

Emily Allen wrote:

> I am trying to determine what the "ideal" relationship is between
> and documentation associates regarding the development of materials. Both
> training people and documentation people have different opinions as to
> the material should look like, what form it should take, etc. Can anyone
> provide me with some input as to what they make have experienced in the
> both from a training point of view and documentation point of view?>>

The ideal relationship between any two departments within the same company
is one based on mutual respect and a desire to avoid unnecessarily
duplicating each other's work.

In terms of what the material should look like:
1) All material should reflect the company's overall corporate image (i.e.,
it should use the same fonts, style-guide, & general conventions
2) The training & documentation materials should reflect their respective
audience, scope, and purpose.

For example, at my company, the training dept. creates training slides &
companions for clients who attend the instructor-led training seminars,
while the documentation group creates basic user-guides and online help.
There is certainly overlap between those two audiences, but they're pretty
different: one audience is following along with an instructor, Powerpoint
slides, and hands-on training, whereas the other audience is a user sitting
at a desk thinking "How do I do/understand XYZ in the shortest time
possible?" (XYZ meaning anything from the most basic procedure to the most
complex mathematical function.) Accordingly, the training materials and
the documentation materials are structured differently.

That said, there have been times in the past when projects and mandates
started to overlap. At the time I was managing a merged Doc/Training
department, and I worked _really_ hard to nip that in the bud while
maintaining professional respect amongst all involved parties. Sometimes
this means letting go of some control or territoriality (each company and
its culture is different) -- but in the end, as long as everyone
understands the mandate, & is willing to step up to the plate & get the
work done, it's all good.

Abby Klemmer
FactSet Research Systems


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