Re: Question about expanding the role of technical writers

Subject: Re: Question about expanding the role of technical writers
From: Keith Hood <bus -dot- write -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "Cardimon, Craig" <ccardimon -at- m-s-g -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 4 Dec 2015 23:17:41 -0600

When I was doing help systems for software, I was basically a one-man focus
group. I always test-drove the software while writing about it. I always
made sure I was tied in with the QA people, because they could use the help
drafts to check against the test plans and see if what I was seeing lined
up with their criteria. I've used bug tracking systems many times.

I've both originated and edited articles on wikis.

I've been a sort of publisher; had to get documents physically printed and
bound and distributed. Sometimes that meant being the company liaison with
a printer, sometimes it meant I had to operate the printer and grind out
the pages and get them properly collated before binding.

I did business analyst work for years without realizing that was what I was
doing. I had many jobs where I had to do up business and functional
requirements, help develop tasks for a WBS and estimate them, write up
definitions of project scopes, perform gap analysis and requirements
tracking, bang out use cases and user stories, etc. Sometimes I wonder if
the people I was working for knew I had been roped into doing higher level
work for lower level pay and I didn't know it.

I used to be a course designer and instructor. I've also had lots of jobs
where I did training materials of many kinds, including short how-two
videos. Those used to be actual studio camera work, and in recent years
I've picked up on how to make videos using desktop software like Lync and
Camtasia. I've also boned up on doing animations and narrations in
PowerPoint slide shows.

I'm currently on my third job that involves editing docs created by others.
And my second job as a SharePoint site administrator. Right now I'm forced
to work with SharePoint 2013. The UI of that is so hideously ugly I can't
believe it wasn't designed by Satan.

Does using SP count as being a webmaster or web designer? I've had jobs
where I had to put up web sites for deploying Webhelp and network diagrams,
so I guess that's sort of being a web designer.

Take some courses in project management and try to position yourself not
just as a writer, who (as I used to joke) captures the planners' brilliance
for the future - when involved with any kind of development project,
whether it's software or construction, try to take a more active role in
the planning. That makes you and your work look like more of a value-added
proposition, and gives you a better chance of retention.

On Fri, Dec 4, 2015 at 11:17 AM, Cardimon, Craig <ccardimon -at- m-s-g -dot- com>
wrote:

> Good afternoon and Happy Friday, Whirlers!
>
> For everyone on this list who works as a technical writer or communicator,
> what else are you involved with other than documentation?
>
> For instance, if you are do software testing, sing out. Or, if you are
> involved with marketing writing, sing out. If you make how-to videos, don't
> be shy.
>
> Don't spare the specifics, either. I want the nitty-gritty.
>
> I ask because my manager wants us to think about expanding our individual
> roles.
>
> Cordially,
> Craig Cardimon | Senior Technical Writer
> Marketing Systems Group
>
>
>
>
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Question about expanding the role of technical writers: From: Cardimon, Craig

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