Re: Query -- Software doc writer's responsibilities

Subject: Re: Query -- Software doc writer's responsibilities
From: "Karl A. Hakkarainen" <karlh -at- AUGGIE -dot- AUGMENT-SYSTEMS -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 5 Nov 1996 07:38:04 -0500

Yes, there are creatures such as you describe, people whose
responsibilities are confined to matters directly related to software
documentation. They are becoming increasingly rare and, IMHO, that's a good

As a writer and as a manager, I find that versatility is a essential
quality for technical writers. It's important not only because it helps the
company, but, more importantly, it also means that the writer is capable of
understanding the issues around a topic more completely. Most of the
writers who do well can contribute to the project and the business in a
variety of forms: as system administrators, as proposal writers, handling
customer service queries, working on UI design, developing and delivering
training, developing marketing comunications literature, and the like.

It's important that technical writers be treated as professionals. It's
equally important that we don't define ourselves so narrowly that we define
ourselves into obscurity.

At 08:45 PM 11/5/96 +0900, you wrote:
>I would like to know more about the scope of the tech writer's job.

>I address these questions to those on the list who were hired by software
>companies to write software documentaion.

>What other writing, besides the actual documentation, are you asked to do?
>Are you sometimes expected as the hired pen to draft in-house reports,
>correspondence, proposals?

>Am I mistaken in thinking that there is a creature called a software
>documentation writer (or whatever) who just works with SMEs and the
>software to develop documentation?

>I appreciate any help you can give!


>Chris Stone
>kinoko -at- shizuokanet -dot- or -dot- jp

Karl A. Hakkarainen Technical Documentation Manager
Augment Systems, Inc. 508 392-8626 (voice)
Westford MA 01886 508 392-8636 (fax)

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