Information gathering.....

Subject: Information gathering.....
From: "Al Geist" <al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L''" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2008 16:32:19 -0400

HI all,

I'm in a typical writing staff has been reduced by half, the
project load has grown and the deadlines are shrinking. (Sound familiar?) My
department head has decided that the problems with us falling behind is
because our information gathering is inefficient. (He has never worked as a
technical writer and views technical publications as a necessary evil rather
than a valued component of the company's products.) The department head is
pushing for us to incorporate video taping into the information gathering
process. His idea is to have the engineers videotape the setup/alignment
process so we won't have to bother them with questions. Those same engineers
would discuss the various components making up the systems. (These systems
use pneumatics, hydraulics, and electronics to align and bond silicon wafers
and are extremely precise.) We would take the tapes and write the books.
Reviews would be accomplished by training as they train the field service
staff. (How they would know what is correct or what is and error was not
part of his proposal.)

Prior to my arrival at this company, the "lone technical writer" worked
part-time and did litter more than stuff material written by the engineers
into a Word template and shoved it out the door. There was no review of the
material. The result was garbage. I have worked hard to move the
publications beyond those dark days to a professional level and do not want
to go backwards. (I should add that our company is going through a change in
management and board of directors. It is a subsidiary of a German
corporation. We have a new CFO who is in cost cutting mode and is only
looking at bottom line. My Department Head is a long-time employee, but in a
new position. He wants to look good.)

Has anyone had experience incorporating video in the information gathering
process for technical publications? How did it work for you (or did it
work)? Did it vastly improve efficiency, or was the development time about
the same? If you used video, what did you have to do to ensure the
information you got was worthwhile?

Any and all help/information on this subject will be gladly accepted.

That bottle of Rare Vos is looking pretty good right about now.


Al Geist

Technical Communicator, Help, Web Design, Video, Photography

Office/Msg: 802-872-9190

Cell: 802-578-3964


See Also:

Fine Art Photography


"...I walked to work, quit my job, and kept walking. Better to be a pilgrim
without a destination, I figured, than to cross the wrong threshold each
day." (Sy Safransky)


ComponentOne Doc-To-Help gives you everything you need to author and
publish quality Help, Web, and print content. Perfect for technical
authors, developers, and policy writers. Download a FREE trial.

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

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.


Previous by Author: RE: Typo of the Year
Next by Author: RE: Information gathering.....
Previous by Thread: Ever had client requirements a bit like this????
Next by Thread: RE: Information gathering.....

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads