Here are the slides from our presentation to Year 10 children at The Matthew Arnold School in Staines-upon-Thames on writing as a career in IT. We looked at the different writing postions in companies, such as Apple, and then looked at the role of the Technical Author/Writer. The class had to write an instruction manual for a new eco-messaging product (aka a typewriter).
Earlier this week, I was asked my opinion on whether a Documentation Manager was needed when the individual Technical Authors are embedded into Agile project teams.
My response was that a Documentation Manager mainly provides people management, project management, process management and content management. If a Technical Author is a member of a software project team, then that team’s Project Manager is probably providing the people management and the project management to the writer.
That leaves the need for someone to manage the processes and manage the content. I suggested managing the content could be done by someone with the role of Editor (or “Content Wrangler”). They might also look after the processes, or they could have another writer take on that responsibility.
It’s then a decision as to whether the organisation sees these roles as senior to the technical writing positions, or as a specialism and consequently on the same job grade.
It does leave the management of the writers’ career progression falling through the cracks, unfortunately.
How do others deal with this issue?