TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
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
* 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
* We've seen writers use long sentences, long paragraphs, and long
* 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.