RE: Expanding a Company's Technical Writing Group

Subject: RE: Expanding a Company's Technical Writing Group
From: "Joe Malin" <jmalin -at- tuvox -dot- com>
To: "Bonnie Granat" <bgranat -at- granatedit -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 7 Dec 2005 16:27:22 -0800

Sounds to *me* like a monkey's being passed down the ladder. Your boss'
boss needs to make an argument for expansion. He told *your* boss to
come up with it. Your boss told *you* to come up with it.

I'd handle it this way:
* Find out what your boss' boss wants to do, by asking your boss
open-ended questions about how
to sell this "up".
* Do *not* ask your boss' boss anything. Ever. If you're forced to, tell
your boss that his boss asked *you*.
* Ask your friends in other departments. Have they heard about
expansion? and why?
* Think about your boss and your boss' boss. Do they focus on numbers?
If so, produce numbers. Are they
fanatic about action items? Set plans and action items. Do they hide
in their offices all the time?
Emphasize ideas that don't take much of their involvement.
* Come up with a few grandiose but nice-sounding ideas, along with a
variety of no-brainer ideas. Don't
worry about the grandiose ideas, you'll never be held accountable for
them. For that matter, don't worry
about the no-brainer ideas either.
* Don't panic too much about being *right*, as much as *sounding* right.
Plans change all the time. People
will judge you by things that usually have *nothing to do* with your
planning, regardless of whether or
not you achieve the plan.
* If your boss has a technical writing background, get all the grammar
and organization perfect. Otherwise,
put in deliberate errors so your boss (and his or her boss) can
correct them.
* Regardless, always put in one or two rather off-the-wall ideas that
your superiors can correct or delete.
A friend of mine calls these ideas "helicopters." He was a contract
video ad writer; he always called
for one shot from a helicopter, knowing that the customer would
immediately think it was too expensive
and yank it. This usually had the desired effect of the customer *not*
yanking shots that really *did*
need to be there. Your "reviewer" is always gonna want to correct
something; a superior is always gonna
want to control/cut back/"make sensible" anything you do. Might as
well make it painless for yourself...

You can't go wrong coming up with a decent plan and doing whatever your
boss tells you to do, even if it's jumping out of a window. Just
remember to tie a rope under your clothes, first. In other words, do
what your boss wants you to do, regardless of what they say they want
you to do, but protect yourself just in case.


Joe Malin
Technical Writer
(408)625-1623
jmalin -at- tuvox -dot- com
www.tuvox.com
The views expressed in this document are those of the sender, and do not
necessarily reflect those of TuVox, Inc.

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+jmalin=tuvox -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+jmalin=tuvox -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf
Of Bonnie Granat
Sent: Wednesday, December 07, 2005 1:56 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Expanding a Company's Technical Writing Group

Jennifer_Gidner -at- dom -dot- com wrote:
My boss wants to expand the TW
> group because his boss feels technical writing is needed. He actually

> sees that people need guides to tell them how to use the software our
> programmers create. It's that simple.
>

Sounds like he wants you to document what his boss told him.


Bonnie Granat
http://www.GranatEdit.com


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