Re: Interview questions

Subject: Re: Interview questions
From: Rick Lippincott <rjl6955 -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Dave C <davec2468 -at- gmail -dot- com>, TECHWR-L Writing <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 4 May 2017 06:45:31 -0400

Dave:

You've asked a couple of great questions related to hardware writing, and I
suspect the product is something very large, heavy, and possibly dangerous
if mistreated. There do not seem to be a lot of people on this list who are
involved in that, I hope a few more will come out of the woodwork with
answers.

My answers that follow assume that the company is outside of
aerospace/defense, rules are a little different there.

Regarding actual doc testing, don't be surprised if the answer is a blank
look. If your experience is with the aerospace/defense model of
validation/verification, you may find it's not a strict requirement in
other industries. Standard model of documentation QA outside of
aerospace/defense seems to be "send draft to SME, then spend time nagging
SME to make comments, and hope the comments are more useful than 'this is
wrong, fix it' notations." There are some companies that do a better job of
it than what I've described (and I'm fortunate to be at one now), but the
idea of formal reviews by a dedicated doc testing group is virtually
unknown outside of aerospace/defense.

Ask about the safety admonition standards: ATA? ANSI Z535? If they're not
following a standard, be prepared to talk about at least an internal
methodology - the classic MIL-STD warning/caution/note hierarchy may do,
although I would suggest using the ANSI markings.

Ask about the graphics/illustration process. Are the engineers using a
design tool that has a compatible graphics tool? For example Solidworks has
"Composer," a tool purely for creating graphics and animations. My opinion
as a user is that if you're doing service manuals, Composer's ability to
quickly produce exploded views (and automate the process of creating tags
for the parts) and phantom views are going to be lifesavers.

Ask about the delivery method - print or electronic? If electronic, does
this mean "send a PDF" or is there a potential for something more
interactive? More companies are adopting mobile devices for delivery of
service manuals, and there's still not a lot of understanding of the best
ways to do it. Getting back to illustrations for a moment, if the delivery
is electronic, you may have the opportunity to insert animations into the
doc. Is this something that they've considered, or are already doing?

Ask about your access to the hardware. If it's big, heavy, and dangerous,
your access may be limited. If so, what are the workarounds?

Those are off the top of my head and before my first cup of coffee for the
day, hope they help. Feel free to contact me off-list if there's anything
specific, I'll do my best to answer.

Good luck!

--Rick Lippincott

On Wed, May 3, 2017 at 9:12 PM, Dave C <davec2468 -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

> Iâm interviewing with a large manufacturer Friday. The position is for a
> writer of service manuals, something I have experience with both as a
> writer and a consumer (I had a short career as an industrial repair tech).
>
> Iâm listing some questions to ask peers and managers Iâll be working with
> (confident, arenât I?).
>
> So far itâs:
> - is there document testing implemented?
> - what is the legal review process (re. writersâ liability, especially in
> repair of consumer products)
> - SME availability, review requirements (will I get it back? annotated?)
> - Work environment (individual offices? âone big happy family rumpus
> roomâ?)
>
> Of course thereâs the standards: benefits, etc.
>
> What else would/did you ask?
>
> Thanks,
> Dave
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Follow-Ups:

References:
Interview questions: From: Dave C

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