Re: assessing a lone-writer gig

Subject: Re: assessing a lone-writer gig
From: Troy Klukewich <tklukewich -at- sbcglobal -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2007 09:56:20 -0700 (PDT)

Mike's point would be my major concern, especially if the company is growing and likely to go international at some point.

I would check if the development team is in love with their documentation and impervious to change, whether they know or care about industry trends like XML and DITA, and what documentation types they have now (or is it a free-for-all).

If the development team is in love with their documentation and it is in fact poor, you will probably have a hard time convincing them to move to something better without pressing business drivers, like localization costs.

In the best case, they let you take the lead and do what you do best as a pro. In the worst case, you get stuck producing docs to current low expectations, which might be okay for some writers, but would drive me bonkers within a week.

I would look first to the growth opportunity. Where there is great risk there is also great reward. If there was no growth opportunity, I would pass.

Troy Klukewich
Information Architect

----- Original Message ----
From: Mike Starr <mikestarr-techwr-l -at- writestarr -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Sent: Friday, June 22, 2007 7:38:13 AM
Subject: Re: assessing a lone-writer gig

Consider that the documents you inherit might be awful from the perspective
of a professional technical writer but that those not aware of documentation
standards might consider them to be not just acceptable but perfectly
wonderful. Because of that, they might not attach any value to the concept
of cleaning them up and would consider dedicating time and effort to
cleaning them up to be a waste of your time.

Inherited documents may be poorly written, poorly structured, inconsistently
formatted, use spaces and blank paragraphs for alignment and may not use
paragraph styles at all but rather format overrides for everything. However,
they will have enabled a checkmark to be placed in the "Documentation"
column. Coming in cold and erasing all of those checkmarks for reasons that
may not be considered valid by your management team won't win you any
brownie points.


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