Answering Rene:
I would be surprised if the general thinking of the companies in most 
industries determines whether or not a company has a competent tech pubs 
department. Telecom may be an exception.

Answering Chris:
Your experience is apparently quite different than mine.  I agree with Bill.  I 
have worked in several industries, including CAD/CAM/EDA, video systems, wired 
and wireless networking, medical technology, CRM, SAN/NAS, and a few others 
over many, many years in tech pubs, including managing pubs for ten years.  
During all that time, I have _never_ seen a company who knew what they were 
doing wait until after the design process is complete to get the tech writer 
involved.  Concept and preliminary markteting investigation, sure, but when the 
MRD went to the Engineering/Development team, it also went to pubs and support. 
 And that included several startups as well as big companies.  

Smart marketing and engineering VPs know that the docs are an integral part of 
the product and that most customers cannot use the product without them.  The 
sooner the writers get involved, the better the docs will be, and sometimes the 
product too.  Depending on their experience, many writers are asked for their 
imput on product design and usability.

General comment:
If the company you work for treats docs and/or pubs as an afterthought and your 
efforts to change that thinking have failed, you might want to consider taking 
your valuable skills and worthwhile talents elsewhere.


-----Original Message-----
>From: Rene Stephenson <rinnie1 at>
>Sent: Oct 11, 2007 4:06 PM
>To: Bill Swallow <techcommdood at>, Chris Borokowski <athloi at 
>Cc: framers at
>Subject: Re: radical revamping of techpubs
>In telecom in the town I'm in, it's a rare thing to find a company (even a 
>tier 1 telco, both American-owned and Japanese-owned) with a solid tech 
>writing staff in place. The vast majority of tech writing jobs at all levels 
>in this town in telecom are contract only, and they're almost all subject to 
>frequent upheaval via organizational changes.  I can't say much about other 
>industries, because I'm too narrow - I've done nothing but telecom work for 
>over a decade.
>  Rene Stephenson
>Bill Swallow <techcommdood at> wrote:
>  I don't buy your "few companies" generalization. Perhaps small pre-IPO
>companies and the like, but I've not met an established company that
>didn't have a solid tech writing staff in place.
>On 10/10/07, Chris Borokowski wrote:
>> My prediction is that it will be a partial disaster, and then they'll
>> hire a contractor to come clean up. Few companies are interested in
>> keeping technical writers around full time, since they're only needed
>> at the end of the design process. They want dual roles, such as project
>> manager technical writers, developer technical writers and probably
>> even technical writers who can cook to reduce catering costs.
>Bill Swallow
>HATT List Owner
>WWP-Users List Owner
>Senior Member STC, TechValley Chapter
>STC Single-Sourcing SIG Manager

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