Documentation Management

Subject: Documentation Management
From: Keith Bennett <bennettk -at- EROLS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 19:05:12 +0000

Hello Everyone:

I need a little advice. I recently landed a contract with a large firm
to prepare presentations and write various pieces of technical
documentation, such as marketing requirements. When I was interviewed
for the position, I was told by the manager(s) that I would have to
interview various employees in the company for information on what
requirements would have to go into the documentation I was responsible
for writing. I was warned too that getting the information I needed
would not be easy. Having been through this process before, I accepted
the contract and rolled up my sleeves to tackle a new challenge.

I did not, however, realize how difficult it would be getting info from
information providers at this company. In fact, the managers who hired
me found it difficult themselves to get the information they needed. I
sat in on initial meetings with the managers and the staff seemed to
give them very little respect or a quick response to their requests.

Sure enough, after three weeks on the job, and having to juggle more
than one extensive writing task at a time, I was told that I was not
getting a particular document completed quickly enough. When I responded
that I had a difficult time getting information from IP people, I was
then told that although I had excellent writing skills, I was not
agressive enough with the IPs in the company. I would have to become
more agressive.

My two questions are: is the writer a manager as well as writer, and
also, should I walk away from this project which seems to be more
documentation management (even though the IPs seem to value this process
to a small degree), or try to slug it out. It seems as though I've got
to beg, plead, and become a real SOB, write well, and provide graphic
design skills for this position all at once. Am I Super Technical Writer
here or what? Help.


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