Re: Reorganization Question

Subject: Re: Reorganization Question
From: "Wing, Michael J" <mjwing -at- INGR -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 9 Sep 1996 09:00:17 -0500

>>I prefer to be a Writer on an Engineering team rather than one of "n"
>>writers in a documentation department. However, from the responses to
>>this topic that I've seen, this puts me in the minority.

>The questions, "Where should I put my desk?" and "Who should decide if
>I need training, or a raise, or a promotion?" often have different answers.

I've received my biggest raises when I was part of the Engineering team.
I kind of like having an Engineering Manager review my salary. Of
course, this was after I have shown them that I do not draw the fences
around my work so that it contains only writing duties.

>It's usually a good practice for a writer to be part of a development
>team for the duration of a project, but that doesn't mean that he
>should report to an engineering manager.

Depends on the manager. I've reported to Engineering managers,
Marketing managers, and Writing managers. I've had to adapt for each
environment. The Engineering group liked a lot of specifications,
detailed procedures, charts, easy access to information and so forth in
the document. They did not care much for fluff. They also seem to want
us to take a lot of things out of the document. I've often had to
respond to statements like "The customer doesn't need to know that".

The Marketing group liked a lot of graphics; lengthy, flowery
introductory text, lists; and so forth. They also liked two manuals; a
thin one that they could hand out at trade shows and send as "freebies:,
and a nice, thick, fluffy one they could plop down on the customer's
briefcase. They also like writers to "sensationalize" what they write.
How many more times do we have to use trite phrases like "leading edge",
"state-of-the-art", "top-down", "low maintenance", and so forth. When
left completely under Marketing control, an exorbitant amount of time is
spent on wording the trademarks section, positioning graphics, and
making sure the company name appears 20 times per page (and bold face).

Writing managers have always been the best at understanding the job
tasks. However, I have found it hard to talk document content with them
(IME, both Engineering and Marketing love to discuss content.) More
emphasis seems to be on department standards, document format,
editing/production schedules, and so forth.

Mike Wing
_/ Michael Wing
_/ Principal Technical Writer
_/ Infrastructure Technical Information Development
_/ Intergraph Corporation
_/ Huntsville, Alabama
_/ (205) 730-7250
_/ mjwing -at- ingr -dot- com

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