Re: AW: How do hiring companies view TW resumes?

Subject: Re: AW: How do hiring companies view TW resumes?
From: Bill Swallow <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Keith Hood <klhra -at- yahoo -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2010 11:22:54 -0400

> I agree with you. But as to convincing those who need to be do you provide that extra value when you're kept on a hatrack? It's been my experience that software engineers and project managers consider technical writers as much a normal part of the process as a cat in an operating room. If you think they consider our products a necessary evil that they wouldn't waste time on if they didn't have to, how do you think they consider us? The goal of creating acceptable metrics is child's play compared to the goal of being accepted as valuable in project planning and execution.

It's my experience that this perception of documentation and writers
exists just as much as is doesn't exist. ;) I've worked for companies
that welcome writers into every aspect of product development, and
I've worked for companies where we were lucky to have access to the
development area coffee machine. You need to know when and how to
choose your battles. In the extreme latter case, your best bet is to
show up, do the work, and job hunt off the clock.

In the gray areas in between the two cases, your approach really
depends on many factors but you generally are doing well if you can
find a couple advocates to help out. Look for them in QA, Support,
Training, and Project Management if you can't find any directly in
Development. Project Managers are best swayed by metrics, so if you
can show them quicker turnaround time on paper, you just bought
yourself an advocate who is good at using numbers to make change

> The reasons why inclusion in the process is even more problematic are territoriality and insecurity. The design process is owned by other people and they don't want to share. In too many minds, admitting that a TW can be valuable in the process is tantamount to admitting that they missed out on a good idea. And that is the same to them as admitting they don't know how to do their job.

Yep, and right around that mushy area of personal comfortability you
have the other stuff you hate to tread into the living room after a
day of work: office politics. There are ways around all of these gray
areas, but there's no proven formula. These areas require custom
solutions and lots of finesse.

> I think that developing usable metrics would help pry open the door to inclusion in the process, easier than the other way around. Camel's nose in the tent and all that. Metrics aren't a challenge to some manager's territorial instincts.

Agreed. Different tactics for different situations. Metrics are
generally a good starting point though. If you have something on
paper, you have a chance at winning advocacy from some of the more
rational players. They can help you with the irrational opponents.

Bill Swallow

Twitter: @techcommdood

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Re: AW: How do hiring companies view TW resumes?: From: Chris Despopoulos
Re: AW: How do hiring companies view TW resumes?: From: Keith Hood

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