RE: Monkey Business

Subject: RE: Monkey Business
From: "Lauren" <lt34 -at- csus -dot- edu>
To: <steve -at- writersbookmall -dot- com>, "'Mark the Writer'" <mdb-career -at- cox -dot- net>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 12 Aug 2007 12:29:22 -0700

> From: Writers Book Mall

> This is why a standard interview approach is to ask
> the applicant to explain in detail what exactly they
> did to produce the sample they are showing: was it all
> their work? a team effort? what challenges did they
> overcome? how did they get their information? what was
> different in this project from other projects listed
> on their resume? and so on.

That is the type of interview approach that has apparently failed the State
of California and other large employers. So the current trend, at least for
the State, is to have applicants provide a detailed skill summary based on
requirements that the state agency defines. The panel interview process
does not consider the resume very much and focuses on the statement of work
and the skill summary. The skill summary that I completed and that got me
the interview contained the six requirements that follow.

1. At least three (3) years experience in developing requirements
2. Knowledge of methodology used for business process design and
3. Experience in or knowledge of developing, documenting and leading
4. Experience in or knowledge of researching and documenting best
5. Experience in or knowledge of the System Development Lifecycle
6. Experience in or knowledge of Rational Unified Process (RUP)

The statement of work included a number of other requirements such as
knowledge or use of JAD, requirements analysis, functional specifications
(or Use Cases), PMO and SDLC methodologies, and Change Management.

Typical interview questions would not get this kind of information. There
also appears to be a trend towards requiring that contractors perform both
the analysis and the writing tasks. One contract presented to me by a
recruiter already had a Business Analyst, but they needed a Technical Writer
to document the Business Analyst's work and I was approached as the
Technical Writer for the contract. That bid was not approved.

I think that the role of the Technical Writer has had a bit of growth and
has reached outside of the areas of software and process documentation and
into areas of business and systems analysis. There may now be a trend to
phase out analysts that cannot document their own work and, at the same
time, phase out writers that cannot analyze the environment that they

What it looks like to me, is that employers are re-organization the market
and consolidating resources within the market. Of course, the client drives
the market, so this is a logical progression. I think that this is a growth
phase that will result in a better and stronger resource pool for technical
communication, although the role of technical writer seems to be getting



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RE: Monkey Business: From: Writers Book Mall

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