RE: Business team or the Development team?

Subject: RE: Business team or the Development team?
From: "Habegger, Nolan" <nolan -dot- habegger -at- synertechllc -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 9 Dec 1999 12:19:18 -0600

From: Uma [mailto:uma_p_m -at- yahoo -dot- com]:

<In an organizational structure, does a Techncial
Writer belong in the development division (which makes
products) or the marketing division (which sells
products). Most likely a TW belongs in a team called
Support Functions but which of the above divisons
would the support team be part of?>

In the best of all possible worlds, I would seek to position documentation
in the division that has more influence in the company. Some companies are
driven more by their technology than by their sales (i.e., they produce a
phenomenal product and sell it to interested parties). Others have to put a
lot of effort into marketing a product that is average by industry
standards. If you are in a company that is on the cutting edge of an
industry, then you want to be in a highly visible place where you can
contribute the most to the bottom line. If your company is one of the
"huddled masses, yearning to break free," then the executives are looking
for ways to make a standard product look exceptional. In that sort of
operation, you can probaly provide more value to the company (from their
perspective) in supporting the business end of the company through effective
communications to customers.

I worked for five years writing assembly and testing procedures for an
Engineering divion of a company. That TW group was viewed by mgmt as a
necessary evil, and ultimately ended up being outsourced. I moved to the
Training TW division (an arm of Human Resources) at the same company, and in
one week I had more exposure to executive management than I'd had in the
entire previous 5 years. In that position, I was performing many of the same
tasks, but at a higher salary ($15K more per annum) with greater influence
and impact in the company. The company was more willing to pour money into
that department because they were more concerned about what was going on in
the field than what was happening on the assembly line floor.

We add value regardless of where we are positioned. But the *significance*
of that value relies upon where executive management puts the emphasis.

Nolan Habegger
Technical Communications Coordinator
Synertech Management Group, LLC
Houston, TX
(nolan -dot- habegger -at- synertechllc -dot- com)

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