Re: Tips on how to talk to SMEs

Subject: Re: Tips on how to talk to SMEs
From: Ruth Sessions <ruthsessions03051 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 14 Jul 2011 07:21:03 -0700 (PDT)

Regarding working with engineers and getting feedback:

In smaller companies, where my role expanded to encompass leadership for doc, I've been involved in developing company processes and been able to get development managers to include how well each engineer works with the tech writer as a percentage of the engineer's performance review. Maybe it would be only 10%, but that 10% can be the difference between being a "Meets Expectations" review and an "Exceeds Expectations" review for the engineer. Career growth becomes a motivator. The engineers start to take documentation seriously. 

It then becomes the writer's responsibility to help the engineer understand what he or she should provide as feedback. Some engineers don't know where to begin when reviewing a document. Perhaps only one piece of the document applies to the code that engineer wrote. In a case like that, you can have that engineer review only the appropriate chapter or pages. 

By developing better processes for R&D, QA, and even tech support--processes that include the tech writer--you can change the way the entire organization interacts with writers and improve the resulting documentation.

The greatest difficulty many tech writers have is the lack of support from management. Throughout my career, I've tried to affect process in ways that help produce better results. I'm not saying there aren't organizations resistant to change--because I've certainly run into a few of them as well--but I think working toward a better process is the key to producing successful documentation.

I've stopped short of writing anything for the STC... Maybe I should consider re-joining it one of these days...
;-)

Ruth

 
------------------------------------------------------------
Ruth Sessions
603/886-7355
603/809-3054


________________________________
From: David Tinsley <dtinsley -at- ndigital -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2011 8:45 AM
Subject: RE: Tips on how to talk to SMEs

I gave some thought to this subject and penned this article for the local STC chapter newsletter.

http://www.stc-soc.org/quill/2010-01/workingwithsmes.php

David
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References:
RE: Tips on how to talk to SMEs: From: David Tinsley

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