Blurring the line between writer and engineer

Subject: Blurring the line between writer and engineer
From: Rick Lippincott <rjl6955 -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L Writing <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 2015 18:41:40 -0500

Occasionally at tech writing jobs I've held (including the current
one), I'm finding that part of my responsibility is, actually, to
enact engineering changes to the hardware.

Currently it's limited to not much more than swapping part numbers or
changing quantities (based on the input of an engineer) in our
configuration control system, but those changes go through the ECO
process and become official.

In some previous jobs, though, I've found myself in a position
(typically while on some sort of hardware trial out in the field)
where the customer has said "In order for us to sign off on this, we
need you to mark up the changes to the engineering drawing here, and
give us your assurance that these changes will be incorporated." (This
has lead to a couple of interesting conversations on my return where
I've had to go to engineers and say "Well, I made a couple of changes
in your design, and here they are...and no, you don't have any choice
but to accept them.")

Two questions, just out of curiosity:

* For hardware tech writers (especially large "heavy metal" writers),
do you find that you're doing this...frequently? Rarely? Ever?
* For software tech writers...do you ever find that you're writing code?

--Rick Lippincott
"I explain things."
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