Re: assessing a lone-writer gig

Subject: Re: assessing a lone-writer gig
From: "Pro TechWriter" <pro -dot- techwriter -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "Sydney Compson" <sydney -dot- compson -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2007 12:33:50 -0400

Hi Sydney:

Being a lone writer at a company that is transitioning from "small" to
"medium-sized," here are some things I have asked about, and would ask that
I didn't.

- How is this job classified (professional or administrative). (If
it's administrative,, do not walk, away from this job!)
- What tools do you use now? Can I choose tools? Is there a budget for
tools? Can I use open source tools if there is little to no budget? Are
there any restrictions against downloading and testing trial versions of
software, if I need to.
- How has the documentation (if any) been produced up to now?
Distributed? Who owns it? Will I "own" the documentation now?
- Who has the final say about documentation quality (templates, look
and feel, editing, language, standards)? (This is VERY important!)
- Will anyone be able to change my documents? Tell me to use other
language? Edit my work? Send out documentation without consulting me? (This
one is a "lessons learned" for me. It matters, believe me.)
- How is the production schedule set for documentation? Who do I give
my estimates and time lines to? How are those communicated to the
development teams? Is there a master schedule? If so, can I provide the
documentation project schedule to be added to the master schedule?
- I have a documentation life cycle process that I follow. What is the
best way to educate others in the company about this process.

These comments are based on my experience in situations like yours. I think
the biggest issue I have had is the lack of control over the documentation
that I am creating, and being perceived as some sort of secretarial person
who types things.

That's all I can think of for now. Others have provided some pretty good
comments that I don't want to repeat.

I hope this helps!


On 6/21/07, Sydney Compson <sydney -dot- compson -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
> hi there,
> --
> PT
> pro -dot- techwriter -at- gmail -dot- com
> I'm a Technical Technical Writer!

Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include support for Windows Vista & 2007
Microsoft Office, team authoring, plus more.

True single source, conditional content, PDF export, modular help.
Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
documentation. Boost your productivity!

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assessing a lone-writer gig: From: Sydney Compson

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