Re: Defining your role

Subject: Re: Defining your role
From: "M. Dannenberg" <midannen -at- SI -dot- BOSCH -dot- DE>
Date: Wed, 4 Dec 1996 13:21:56 +0100


I'm in a similar situation to Ginna, being the lone techwriter in a very
engineer-dominated company. Sometimes it is quite frustrating just how
ignorant people are regarding documentation issues. Documetation is
often seen as some neccesary evil, something you slap together the night
before the product is released.

I'm often asked questions about what I'm good for and what it is I'm
actually doing, so I spend a lot of time expaining how documentation
adds value to our products, and how bad documentation diminishes that
value. That's the kind of language the people with the numbers (i.e.
those who can count to ten without using their fingers) understand.

Once you've setablished that documentation is important, it becomes
easier to get the things done that need top be done, e.g. get them to
complete drafts on time, plan for production time etc. Some guys here
are still surprised if I tell them that printing a document actually
takes a couple of weeks, and, yes, I'm quite new in this job too and
it's going to be something of an uphill struggle.

I've actually been thinking of doing something along the lines Ginna
suggested, i.e. give a presentation about what I'm doing and why it's
important.I think this could be efective as long as it is clear that it
is done because of the engineers' cluelessness and not because technical
writers somehow have to justify their existence.

Mike Dannenberg
midannen -at- si -dot- bosch -dot- de

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