Technical Writing Courses

Subject: Technical Writing Courses
From: David Orr <dorr -at- ORRNET -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM'" <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 14:12:09 -0500

My company uses many staff and free-lance writers on client projects.
Over 15 years, if I've learned anything, it's that training does make a
difference.

* We've had technical writers interview with us who do not know
how to use styles, AutoText, and macros in Word.
* We've seen technical writers of several years experience who
don't know how to write a design document.
* We've seen technical writers who can't accurately estimate
project scope and who don't know how long it takes for them to do
specific types of tasks.
* We've seen writers reinvent the wheel, break the wheel, lose the
wheel, and deny that the wheel exists.
* We've seen writers who can't explain their development
methodology or who say, puzzled, "Development methodology?" when asked
about it.
* We've seen writers use long sentences, long paragraphs, and long
lists.
* We've seen that most technical writers have a shallow knowledge
of task analysis and audience analysis.
* We've seen writer's who don't have a clue about setting and
managing client expectations during a project.

All of the above, and many more issues, can be resolved through
training. We are currently strengthening our own internal training and
mentoring programs so that we can insure a consistent writer skill set.
In our opinion, writer intuition and creativity are necessary but need
to be tempered by training based on experience.


M. David Orr
Orr & Associates/The Usability Group
http://www.orrnet.com





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