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RE: Training and documentation teams play well together?
Subject:RE: Training and documentation teams play well together? From:Paul Hanson <twer_lists_all -at- hotmail -dot- com> To:<techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com> Date:Fri, 30 Mar 2012 10:34:52 -0500
Way back @ job #1 from 1995-1998, my dept was responsible for both the user
manuals (a dump of the help text) and training manuals. There were 13
volumes of training manuals - some in 3" binders, some in 2" binders, and
the rest in 1" binders. There was a lot of material. The original goal was
to integrate updating the training manuals at the same time that we were
updating the user manual. However, that just never really happened. We kept
a printed copy of the training manuals in a 3 ring binder. When something
was going to change the training manual, we would insert a page so that the
page 'stuck up' with the bottom hole of the paper in the middle ring of the
binder and the middle hole of the paper in the top ring of the binder. When
the user manuals were out the door (we printed copies for our clients and
the user manual filled 3 3" binders), then our attention would turn to the
One thing that bit us hard was the decision to 'standardize' the version at
(I believe) 3.5.0 of the software. The logic was that if someone was having
a training class, no matter if the manual was up-to-date or not, that was
the version they would get. Then we released 3.5.1 of the software, but the
training manuals had not been updated. Thus, the question came back to our
manager that the 3.5.1 version of the training manuals were needed. Updating
the training manuals to 3.5.1 was on our 'to do' list. Of course, this
happened when a) I was the junior member of the dept and b) the other two
senior members were out of the office. I wrote up a lengthy explanation as
to what our situation was to our new at the time manager. He then had to
explain that we were working on the updates and would send them when we were
If you can schedule time to get the training materials updated as the user
doc is updated, more power to you.
At job #3, the training manuals were documentation that was given to clients
during a user conference. The software was always changing up to the last
minute which meant the doc was always changing up to the last minute. In the
12 years I was there (and 11 user conferences), not once was I asked /
expected to write training materials. The training materials were written by
non-tech writers and disobeyed so many rules that you and I follow in our
daily work. It got to the point where I didn't even want to see what we were
giving our clients.
Good luck to you!
From: techwr-l-bounces+twer_lists_all=hotmail -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+twer_lists_all=hotmail -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of Robert Heizman
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2012 9:03 AM
To: Rebecca Hopkins; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Training and documentation teams play well together?
I have been in many companies, both large and small and in a number of
industries. Documentation and Training have always been separate
entities, for better or worse. I can only think of one company where we
(Doc Group) shared information with the Training (or Education, as it
was called) Group.
Mostly, I haven't even heard of the two groups communicating with each
In my opinion, the Documentation people would make the best trainers
since we have to know the product (software or hardware) inside and out.
I would welcome the opportunity to do training for my company.
From: techwr-l-bounces+rheizman=vjt -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+rheizman=vjt -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf
Of Rebecca Hopkins
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2012 9:33 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Training and documentation teams play well together?
My company is looking for "synergies" between doc and training -
reducing duplication of work, presenting a consistent message, etc. -
especially across business units.
Do you have any interesting stories about doc and training working
together well - or badly? Maybe YOU have been the doc-and-training team
Also looking for interesting articles, if you've read one recently.
Thanks for any help you can give me!