Re: Organizational Oddity

Subject: Re: Organizational Oddity
From: Debbie Stewart <Debbie_Stewart -at- SIECOR -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 1998 09:45:16 -0500

Laura,
Your reply to Jane Lorenzen who inquired about IS tech writers leaves me
wanting to know more.
I am the first and the only TW in an IS department of 63 other souls. There
are no existing infrastructures for
documentation procedures or guidelines. I work in a Lotus Notes
environment, which has centralized and accessible repository databases. I
am less responsible for end user documentation than I am for developing an
infrastructure with: architecture standards, other standards,
applications documenation, IS disaster recovery procedures, repository
databases, distributed systems architecture, policies and procedures for
the department, service level agreements, operations manuals, and etc.

Can a single tech writer do all this?? How should I structure the areas
that should be documented and what administrative tasks should a single
writer perform?

Operations - primarly computer operations manuals
Applications - documentation development procedures (what should these
include???)
(we have business area analyst that work with the end users)
document business systems and programs used
Client/Server - documenting physical systems - architecture
Enterprise Network - architecture and procedures

Are there any resources that give information about how an IS TW department
could be structured and what the admin responsibilites should include?

I feel a bit overwhelmed here with all the various areas and the lack of
existing infrastructures. Where would you start and what steps would you
follow? How would you define the requirements for each area?

Thanks for any constructive input you folks may have
LoneRanger Writer
Debbie Stewart

Laura wrote:
I'm in the same boat. I'm lucky though, because our I.S. release
coordinator already knew that having a permanent documentation staff
would 1) give developers more time to focus on what they do best
(although they still have to review documentation) 2) ensure that
documents get created, and on time, and 3) ensure that documentation is
complete and usable. The documentation person also acts a liaison
between the developers and the support personnel (end users). It's
great to have my audience right here in the building so I can ask them
what their needs are and then make sure I get that information from the
developers and into the documentation.
Watch out though, because once you do have a in-house I.S. documentation
staff, there are many other tasks (admin) that shouldn't be overlooked:
filenaming standards, style guidelines, network structure, security of
documents, scheduling, and so on. These tasks though are another
feature of what an I.S. tech writer adds to the process that you can
promote. Organizing all of these tasks helps to ensure that your
audience gets what they need to do their jobs, and when they can perform
their jobs more effectively, the bottom line is affected in a way
management understands: our company is more efficient=our company
makes/saves money.
Laura Beckman
Senior Technical Writer, Information Systems
Corporate Express




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