Wed Oct 29, 2008
I say eleven, because Ben Minson came up with this excellent list of seven plus four more on his blog, Gryphon Mountain. His list gives reasons why a company should hire a technical writer. Check it out if you need to justify your existence or if nobody has fought through the cobwebs to your cubicle in a while and you suspect the engineering department has forgotten about you. Or maybe you need to explain what-it-is-you-do-exactly in a job interview. Here are his basic points:
- End users need documentation.
- Technical communicators look at the product with a user perspective.
- Technical communicators help with quality assurance.
- Having quality documentation reflects positively on your organization.
- Documentation provides a record.
- Documentation saves on support costs.
- Technical writers have a versatile skill set.
- Technical communicators’ information gathering gets the team to think critically.
- Technical communicators are specifically trained.
- Technical communicators lighten the load.
- Technical communicators can provide training and support.
I agree with all these points. The only thing I’d add is that the audience for technical documentation can be far more diverse than just the end user. Engineers, marketing managers, stakeholders, product testers, and just about everybody involved needs the goodies. Documentation is important at all levels of the production cycle.