Working with railway engineers in the UK, I'd have to agree with Matt.
 
Your biggest challenge is going to get the engineers to adopt brevity, or minimalism as we sometimes call it.
 
You will need to define a level of assumed knowledge in your audiences, and then determine the questions that need answers.  The herding cats bit will come when you try to get the engineers to write something that ONLY answers the question in front of them.
 
Yes, let them write in Word, but develop a template in which the paragraph format names are exactly the same as those in Frame. Content then imports by copy with little additional work needed. (You will need to delete the Word markup for ordered and unordered lists.  The hard part here will be getting the engineers to use the paragraph formats and not inline formatting.
 
Good luck,
Ant
On 07 October 2013 at 16:25 Matt Sullivan <m...@mattrsullivan.com> wrote:

Training engineers in tech comm tools is usually about as effective as training tech comms in the software tools the engineers use--that is, it's not generally effective.
 
I recommend the engineers use whatever tool they're most comfortable with (Word) and you provide a template and train them in use of stylesheets and standards in that application.
 
After the content is written, have your team import it into Fm.
 
For changes, give the engineers a PDF and use Fm's commenting and revision tools to update content.
 
FWIW, this it the way I handle docs for a major corporate airline and a large medical software company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


-Matt

Matt R. Sullivan 
co-author Publishing Fundamentals: Unstructured FrameMaker 11 
P: 714.798.7596 | C: 714.585.2335 | m...@mattrsullivan.com 

@mattrsullivan LinkedIn facebook mattrsullivan.com 

On Oct 7, 2013, at 7:26 AM, Stephen O'Brien < sobr...@innovmetric.com> wrote:

Hi,
 
A few mechanical engineers have been asked, as part of their varied workload, to author certain documents in English (How To, Webinars, software essentials) in the near future.
 
Working with authors who are not formally trained is a new experience for me. I am wondering how to best define their tasks and the tasks of my technical writing group who will work together to ensure quality documents. For example:
 
·         I could provide the engineers with templates in FrameMaker and an introduction to the basics of technical writing and English grammar and bring them to write good documents over time. Some formal training in technical writing could be offered. The technical writers would then review the final documents (container and content) to ensure the overall quality of the documents.
 
·         Or, maybe the role of the engineers should be to write rough content within guidelines (get the ideas and workflows on paper), and my team of technical writers could be responsible for formatting the content and expressing their ideas/workflows correctly in English. This would take much less time for the engineer (less of a learning curve).
 
Do you have some experience in this matter? Any hints for what may work best?
 
Many thanks.
 
Here in Quebec City, Canada autumn is in full color. Mother Nature at her very best.
 
 

Stephen O'BRIEN
Coordonnateur à la documentation et rédacteur technique senior | Documentation Coordinator and Senior Technical Writer
InnovMetric Logiciels | Software
sobr...@innovmetric.com
T (1) 418.688.2061
F (1) 418.688.3001

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