Explaining what we do

Subject: Explaining what we do
From: Rose Norman <normanr -at- EMAIL -dot- UAH -dot- EDU>
Date: Mon, 29 May 1995 15:35:01 -0500

I am seeking assistance on how to advise a friend at a small
software company who is having to explain to software engineers
what it is technical writers do that makes them so valuable to
the company. Apparently the company is more willing to spend big
bucks hiring engineers to write than to recruit experienced
technical writers. My friend is one of three writers now on
staff and is herself a Computer Science major who recently
completed a master's in English. Because I teach technical writing,
she thought I might be aware of publications, research, etc.
on the subject that might help her make her case. But nothing
comes to mind just now, and I thought this list would be a good
place to find out what others do in this situation.

In general, we are looking for something besides
hearsay and personal experience, something that will help "prove"
that the normal way for software companies to work is through
teamwork among members of a group, some of whom have engineering
expertise, some writing expertise, some other expertise, etc.

I realize that what I am asking for is something technical writers
know from experience, but how do you get it across to people who
have no experience of this kind? Perhaps some of you have had to
fight this same battle at a small company out there earnestly
reinventing the wheel?

Rose Norman
University of Alabama in Huntsville
NormanR -at- email -dot- uah -dot- edu

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