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

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

> 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 has an
occasional posting on project management. Since there is no dedicated
newsgroup, the Project Management Programs FAQ is posted to

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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