Re: First days and weeks on the tech writing job

Subject: Re: First days and weeks on the tech writing job
From: John G <john -at- garisons -dot- com>
To: Peter Neilson <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2018 15:49:01 -0400

A lot depends on what your company is like and what is most important for
the new guy to know. (Guy is used as a gender neutral pronoun.) My
experience has been to use the buddy system - one person is their primary
source of onboarding info.

I've usually organized things in different categories:

Company Stuff
Things like how they get paid, how to navigate the corporate bureaucracy,
who's who, how teams work with each other, where printers are, etc.

Job Stuff
Information about the product(s) they're working on, introducing them to
team members, do meetings etc. start on time or not, process stuff from how
they use agile to details about how they need to do things (tech reviews,
detailed micro-processes like formatting, etc.)

One thing I've found that can be extremely valuable is to share a bookmark
file that has categories and URLs for all the things they need to
do/find/use online.

That should get you started ... just ask yourself "What would *I* want if I
were new?" and provide it.



On Tue, Jun 26, 2018 at 1:05 PM Peter Neilson <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
wrote:

> I think the most important thing is to get the new and naive writer to
> read the existing documentation and report the pieces that simply don't
> make any sense at all. Once the new writer has been there a few weeks,
> all
> the bad writing will seem quite sensible, and the opportunity to see
> through the Emperor's New Clothes to his dire nakedness will be lost.
>
> On Tue, 26 Jun 2018 12:55:55 -0400, Nina Rogers <janina -dot- rogers -at- gmail -dot- com>
>
> wrote:
>
> > Hello! We are hiring a technical writer, and my company is working on
> > their
> > "onboarding" schedule. (This is the first time they have hired someone
> > in a
> > tech-writing capacity. I was hired for another position and morphed my
> > way
> > to tech writer.)
> >
> > I was not included in the planning sessions for onboarding (yes, I'm kind
> > of bitter about that) and have been asked to review the onboarding
> > schedule, now that it's been written. I have some suggestions to change
> > it
> > (oh, do I have suggestions), but I'd like to ask the folks here first: If
> > you are a tech writer with a company (i.e., not an independent
> > contractor),
> > what were your first few days and weeks on the job like? Did you spend a
> > few weeks gaining knowledge of the software (or whatever you were writing
> > about) before you were let loose to start writing articles, or did you
> > pretty much dive in and learn as you go? How much oversight did you get
> > from a manager/supervisor before you stopped needing close oversight?
> >
> > I'm particularly hearing from people who have hired/onboarded junior
> > technical writers. Like I said, I have lots of opinions about how the
> > onboarding process should be changed, but I also don't want to offer
> > "just
> > my opinion." If any of you (particularly documentation managers) can
> > offer
> > some insights to help me see if I'm on (or off) track, I would appreciate
> > it.
> >
> > Thanks in advance!
> >
> > Nina
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References:
First days and weeks on the tech writing job: From: Nina Rogers
Re: First days and weeks on the tech writing job: From: Peter Neilson

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