Fwd: gaining control of a dysfunctional environment?

Subject: Fwd: gaining control of a dysfunctional environment?
From: "Anonymous Poster" <techwhirlanonpost -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwhirlers <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2006 16:14:09 -0500

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I'm hoping for some advice on how to address a systemic problem at
work. I am the only tech writer in a small company, where the people
are generally well intentioned (and less political than in previous
work experiences). However, their work processes are nonexistent and
they cause themselves innumerable problems on a regular basis. I
realize I should probably seek new employment, but I'd like to give it
my best effort before giving up.

The company's s/w dev process---and each group's responsibilities in
that process---are poorly understood/identified. The overall project
management for our s/w products is generally terrible (in spite of our
having separate BA and PM functions). Lastly, regarding
documentation, you won't be surprised to hear it's tough for me to do
my job, particularly with any amount of quality. The whole function
is misunderstood here, and despite my efforts and the quality of my
work (which many people have responded positively to), I've been
unable to establish a basic documentation process.

To explain the dynamics briefly, I report to the DEV manager.
Although a good guy, his comments/actions reflect he thinks TW is
simply a desktop publishing task---DEV will give me info and I am to
make it presentable for clients. His personality is to manage based
on how things (should) work, unless someone can convince him otherwise
(but he can't understand 'analytical' personalities at all, which I
am). When out of his element, he seems to rely on instinct. I often
step up and pose the necessary questions, etc., but he keeps telling
me 'it's not your job to manage documentation,' resolve issues, etc.
But of course, no one is. My boss's personality utterly baffles me
(the opposite of what I think of as scientific and logical). Although
he's not unintelligent.

***My question is: people on techwr-l occasionally mention they use
their role to impose structure and processes in their companies, so
they can do their job. How exactly? What's the secret? What am I
doing wrong?***

(Sigh) . . . Feeling useless and tired

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