TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
If you want to make this work for you, it sounds like you have some
education to do with your employer.
Your employer - or at least your manager - sees no value in having better
docs. Anything is fine. But that's not true. Anything is expensive to the
company. Anything means that people call the support line and that increases
costs. Anything means people return the product as unusable, and that
increases costs. Anything means that market perception of the product is
poor and that increases costs. Anything might mean engineers have to be
flown to the customer site for several days to help the customer.
Were I in your shoes - and I have been in your shoes - I would make an
appointment with someone at the C level, or at least as high as I could go
that is concerned with money for the company. I would go to that meeting
with some numbers in hand: The return rate overall and by product, and the
number of support calls per day and month are 2 that you should be able to
find pretty easily by asking around. And then I would do a presentation
about how much these things cost and what the expected drop in these numbers
might be (even 10% could be a huge dollar amount) if the docs were accurate
And then I would detail what it would take to make that happen - the process
that has to be in place and exactly how that might work. What good docs
include and what is not being included now - without pointing fingers or
making current people wrong. (frame it as something you see how to improve)
You will get one of several results from this. The person may explain that
the company LIKES it this way, or they may be shocked this is happening but
unwilling to fix it, or they may decide they must fix it, or they will label
you as a troublemaker.
But most business people - at the C level - will want this fixed because
it's eating at the bottom line. It's hurting the business because it's
costing money. And that's what C level people care about most. And that's
where this level decision get made and then sent down the line.
Anyway, that's what I would do and have done in the past.
CEO, Anthrobytes Consulting
President of IESTC
I submit the document for approval, and my changes are
disregarded. I am not begging for permission to write
or asking someone to hold my hand. The problem is my
changes are disregarded. I have no control over what
is shipped with the final product or what is posted to
the website. So, if my changes are far superior to the
original, it doesn't matter; they don't incorporate my
changes into the final product. My dilemma isn't
should I make these changes or how to make these
change; the dilemma is the changes are totally ignored
and disregarded. When I address this issue with the
person who approves the document, their response is,
We're not looking for perfection.
New from Quadralay Corporation: WebWorks ePublisher Pro!
Completely XML-based online publishing. Easily create 14 online formats, including 6 Help systems, in a streamlined project-based workflow. Word version ships in June, FrameMaker version ships in July. Sign up for a live, online demo! http://www.webworks.com/techwr-l
You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archiver -at- techwr-l -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Send administrative questions to lisa -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit http://www.techwr-l.com/techwhirl/ for more resources and info.