RE: assessing a lone-writer gig

Subject: RE: assessing a lone-writer gig
From: "Gordon McLean" <Gordon -dot- McLean -at- GrahamTechnology -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2007 09:02:18 +0100

Having never been a lone writer (at least knowing that I wouldn't be one
once I hired others folks), I have to say that this list, with a little
tweak of the English, is applicable to ALL interviews. It would give a good
insight into the company you are interviewing for, and let you see what the
current mindset is and what the barriers to change might be.

As a hiring team lead I'd be intrigued to meet a candidate that asked
questions along these lines, but I guess it depends on your company politics
as to whether this approach would work or not?

Great stuff PT!

Gordon McLean

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+gordon -dot- mclean=grahamtechnology -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+gordon -dot- mclean=grahamtechnology -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- c
om] On Behalf Of Pro TechWriter
Sent: 25 June 2007 17:34
To: Sydney Compson
Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: assessing a lone-writer gig

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?
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!


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