Re: What Technical Communicators Do

Subject: Re: What Technical Communicators Do
From: Randall Raemon <rlr -at- HAL -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 1995 12:01:59 -0600

Karla McMaster writes:

> I think project management is a logical extension of being a technical
> communicator. After all, project management, as I see it, is mainly a
> coordination job. It calls for someone who can speak to all members of the
> team and understand what's being said. It also calls for an organized
> individual who can lay out a logical course of action and adjust when the
> situation requires it. As I see it, most technical communicators are
> uniquely suited to this type of position.

As one "on the other side", there is some bit of truth in this. I was a
project lead for 5 years, then staff engineer for 2 years. The degree of
communication and coordination work that I had during that time is one of
the key reasons that I'm here on techwr-l. Truth be told, I'm a software
grunt.

While I was staff, I took the opportunity to get a project management
certificate being offered thru the local University Extension. Let me say
that this was one of the best things I have ever done. There is a vast
difference between being a project leader, and a project manager. What most
of us are familiar with, is the project leader. Project management is a
skill that few people have. In retrospect, I view my years as a project
leader as being successful simply because I had an excellant crew and
communications.

> In my current position, the walls between R&D and me (in marketing) are too
> high for me to scale alone. Especially as I don't currently have the energy
> to devote to "fighting the good fight." Being a parent to two small children
> and a spouse and a competent technical writer is about all I can handle.
> Perhaps when I again have the energy (when the kids have grown a little),
> the walls will have lowered somewhat.

Personally, I have a similar case. Family priorities shifted, necessitating
a move and a job change.

> I'm very interested to hear what other people have to say about career tracks
> particularly into project management, if anyone has done so, or knows of
> anyone else who has done so.

If you have Usenet newsgroup access, then comp.software-eng has an
occasional posting on project management. Since there is no dedicated
newsgroup, the Project Management Programs FAQ is posted to comp.software-eng.

Another source of information is:

The Project Management Institute
Central Administration Office
4104 Woodland Avenue
P.O. Box 43
Drexel Hill PA 19026-0043
(215) 622-1796

They should be able to put you in contact with a local chapter/user group,
and maybe give some pointers to local univeristy offerings. These would be
excellant sources for you to discover what you're letting yourself in for.

Good luck...

--
Randall Raemon
rlr -at- hal -dot- com
delta1 -at- netcom -dot- com
0005650778 -at- mcimail -dot- com


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