Re: Tech communicators and training

Subject: Re: Tech communicators and training
From: Karla McMaster <mcmaster%pcmail -dot- cti-pet -dot- com -at- CTI-PET -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 7 Sep 1994 10:29:25 EST

Karla Kitalong asked:
How many of you folks are involved with training at your
work place? In what capacity?
At my first technical writing job, I started out in the same department as the
trainers. In the beginning, I learned a lot from them. Customer support was
also part of our department, and I found the combination extremely helpful.
Eventually, I asked for, and was granted a transfer to the R&D department. I
wanted to forge better relationships with the programmers, who tended to
distrust members of my original department.

The transfer achieved what I had hoped, and I was able to maintain my
relationships with the trainers and customer support personnel. In fact,
informally, I kept them up-to-date on the latest software that was being
developed. I even gave informal "training" sessions. By performing this
service, I was able to get valuable input on my preliminary documentation, and
to continue my crusade for "manual awareness."

Some of my goals were to:
. Develop consistent terminology for new software,
. Encourage customer support to refer people to the documentation,
. Elicit help from customer support for pointing out holes in documentation
and issuing updates to address them,
. Make manuals a part of the training session, e.g., require trainees to use
their manuals to complete a task in the workshop portion of the class

I was successful in most cases (it's an ongoing battle!).

I did not write the training materials, but trainers did use some of my
material to create theirs.

I was laid off of that job and have not had a similar opportunity ever since. I
have not found any other companies that are quite as dynamic and open to
communication between departments as that one was. In my current position, I
couldn't get much farther from it. Customer support is done by another company,
altogether. Oh well...


Karla McMaster, technical writer
CTI PET Systems, Inc., Knoxville, TN
mcmaster -at- cti-pet -dot- com

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