Re: Question about expanding the role of technical writers

Subject: Re: Question about expanding the role of technical writers
From: Vincent <vincentpr -at- trfnova -dot- com>
To: ccardimon -at- M-S-G -dot- com, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 04 Dec 2015 17:54:37 -0600 (CST)

I haven't read all the other replies yet, but let me offer my
experience and most importantly how I position myself. I qualify
myself as an 'executive-level technical writer' or sometime simply
'executive technical writer' to emphasize a diverse background with
cross-management experience. By this, I do indeed mean a level above
'senior technical writer'.
From former a former QA role (from which I was elevated from being the
corporate technical writer) it is my normal function to question all
draft workflow and dataflow charts from a logic standpoint before
crafting the flowchart to be embedded in a document. I cannot tell you
how many time I have said 'you have logic flaw', or more typically,
'you have an endless loop' only to initially get push back -- and then
have the logic draft altered.
Speaking for technical writers in the IT arena -- whether your
company's service/product is IT based or you are in the IT-support
group for another industry -- always remember that once you have become
an experienced, seasoned, and skilled technical and interface well
across departments, you are above engineers in rank and status (even if
your payscale does not reflect that). You have to use honed (and
crafty) people skills to get your engineer colleagues to work with you
properly -- especially in new work environment. But for me, I
typically gravitate to side role of being a mentor to the engineer team
as they encounter deadline and supervisor stresses. Usually,
project/program managers use me an assistant of sorts, and I mean
beyond documentation aspects. You should aspire to all these sub roles
to garner opportunity for yourself, especially is you like the company
for which you are working.
Because the technical writer works over time with cross-department
SMEs. he/she is uniquely to prove to be an asset to senior and middle
managers, marketing, support, product development, etc. If you planted
and confined in R&D in you company, strive to stretch.
Vincent


On 12/04/15, 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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