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Subject:Re: What we do and all that! From:Jeroen Hendrix <jhe -at- POLYDOC -dot- COM> Date:Thu, 11 Mar 1999 12:04:31 +0100
Damien Braniff observed:
>We're all communicators and yet we seem to find it difficult to
>put into words exactly what do - is it because it covers such a broad
>that it's different for everyone and so can't easily be defined?
>Perhaps it IS the sheer breadth of what we cover that's the problem
>but as communicators we should be able to come up with a workable
>that covers us all that we can embellish to meet individual requirements.
Well, I think this pertains more or less to every job. Ask your manager or
CEO to define his or her job, ask a teacher in high school I bet they won't
be able to find an easy and satisfying definition just like that either.
You can give characterises, describe responsibilities and activities, but
that will never cover the whole area.
In my opinion, jobs or functions are defined by the different roles you
actually fulfil in your organisation. Many of us call themselves technical
writer, but not all of us will fulfil all the same roles. Some have more
responsibilities, some less. Below I've included a list of possible roles
you can play in an organisation as technical writer. If you pick out what
applies to your situation, you have your definition of a technical writer.
This list circled around here on techwr. list a while ago, so it may look
familiar. Many thanks to the originator(s).
Roles and responsibilities
* Needs Analyst -> Determines the need for the documentation, including
description of the target audience.
* Task & Skills Analyst -> Describes the tasks supported by the
documentation and the skills required for those tasks.
* UI-Design Team Member -> Designs, prototypes and reviews the structure,
and characteristics of the user interface.
* Usability Tester ->Coordinates usability testing of successive designs,
prototypes, beta versions and production releases.
* Documentation Designer ->Designs the structure, features, and
characteristics of the documentation.
* Writer -> Writes the document, following the documentation design and
appropriate style guides, and with awareness of the results of the needs,
task, and skills analyses.
* Editor -> Edits the document for style, voice, grammar, punctuation, and
spelling. Ensures compliance with documentation design and any applicable
* On-line Help Developer -> Develops, tests, revises, and maintains
on-line help for the document.
* Graphic Artist -> Develops, revises, and maintains graphical elements of
* Content Expert ->Acts as resource on how the tasks are performed and how
the software is used to perform the tasks.
* Project Manager -> Sets schedules, work assignments, and plans, and
negotiates changes in those with the Project Owner. Is responsible for
managing document maintenance for the life of the document.
* Project Owner -> Developer of the software for which the documentation is
* Document Reviewer -> Reviews the document for accuracy, appropriateness,
usability, maintainability, accessibility, and/or other characteristics.
* Document Tester -> Uses the document in a simulated or actual use of the
software and reports on accuracy, appropriateness, usability,
maintainability, accessibility, and/or other characteristics.
* Document Producer -> Manages production of the final product.
Mail to: jhe -at- polydoc -dot- com