Re: TW on the development team

Subject: Re: TW on the development team
From: Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 1995 09:40:37 PST

A wise person once told me that he tried never to work for a manager who
didn't have anything to teach him. He felt that the best way to advance
in one's profession was to work for a succession of highly skilled
mentors. He also felt that the best way to professional stagnation
and suicidal depression was to work for people outside your profession
or people in the same profession who were no wiser than you.

If you're the most senior person in your profession at a company,
then you should shift your focus to learning how to run a company,
he figured.

(Not being as wise as he, I never did this, particularly.)

Thus, autonomous development teams can be a trap for the unwary. If
the leader of the team is a jumped-up engineer who demanded that
"Director" be placed on his business card, but didn't spend five seconds
learning how to manage multi-disciplined groups (as is not unusual),
the experience is unlikely to be very educational. If, in fact,
the team leader manages his uneasiness over the tasks he doesn't
understand by denigrating the tasks and those who perform them (as
is not unusual), the experience will be very painful.

Now, I learned a little secret that has come in handy from time to
time: members of upper management are very career-conscious, and
aren't the least bit surprised or upset if other people are, too.
You can go right to your vice president and ask, "How will working
for a software engineer help my career? He doesn't understand what
I do at all, and has nothing to teach me about writing. It doesn't
seem right to put my performance review into the hands of someone
who doesn't even understand what I do for a living, and I don't
want my career to stagnate, when the other writers are being mentored
by the Technical Writing Demigod over there."

These little interviews always end the same way -- by being thanked
for sharing your concern, promises to take these facts under consideration,
and a long period of apparent inaction. But often, in the fullness
of time, appropriate action is taken.

Also, cultivate an acquaintance with the Sales and Marketing people.
They're customer-oriented, they care about documentation, they
often have surprising pieces of useful information, and they
know how to say "thank you." Well, the salesmen do. Whine to them
over lunch if your documents are being impaired by indifferent management,
and don't be surprised if the CEO spontaneously appears in the team leader's
cubicle and gives him a sales pitch on how important technical documentation
is to the success of the product, and how he's got a world-class writing
team, and how they should be given every consideration. Junior managers
are deeply impressed by this sort of thing, and NOBODY wants the CEO
to feel compelled to give them the same sales pitch twice.

-- Robert

Robert Plamondon * President/Managing Editor, High-Tech Technical Writing, Inc
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (541) 453-5841 * Fax: (541) 453-4139

Previous by Author: Re: Hobbies on resumes
Next by Author: Re: hobbies & interests on resumes
Previous by Thread: Re: TW on the development team
Next by Thread: Re: Resumes - writing your own- Hobbies

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads