This Talk is For You

On April 16, the STC Carolina chapter will present my online talk titled Managing Your Documentation Project in a World of Change. I hope you’ll attend.

Ewww, you might be thinking. I’m interested in technical writing, not project management. Is this talk for me?

Yes, this talk is for you.

In your technical writing career, somewhere along the way, there’s an excellent chance you’ll find yourself working as a team of one – a lone writer. When that happens, there’ll be no project manager to make sure your work scope and schedule are realistic, no project manager to ensure that you have everything you need to complete the work. You’ll need to do those things yourself.

Even if you never work as a lone writer, you should know what your project manager is doing to make things run smoothly. You’ll need to communicate with them: letting them know what you need, asking them the right questions.

So, yes. This talk is for you.

How Project Management Helps You

With that out of the way, here’s what you can expect.

I’ll describe how the technical writer – contrary to the stereotype that has us cloistered like monks – is at the center of a network of people: subject-matter experts, UX designers, technical support staff, and more. You count on them to do your job, and they count on you to do theirs.

I’ll show you how to break down a big project into manageable pieces of work that you can assemble into a coherent project plan.

I’ll emphasize the importance of having a documentation plan (doc plan) that describes the work and sets the ground rules for every stage of the content-creation process. The doc plan serves as a contract between you and others in your organization, spelling out what you need from them and what they can expect from you. The doc plan also serves as your road map as you advance through each stage of the process.

I’ll give you tips for working on global teams and in new development processes like agile software development.

I’ll describe a case study in which we brought together several disparate writing teams and moved them onto a new component content management system (CCMS).

What You’ll Take Away

After attending this talk, you’ll be able to:

  • Break down a big project into a series of manageable tasks.
  • Forge stronger working relationships with project managers, subject-matter experts, and others.
  • Understand the importance of the doc plan – and write a good one.
  • Meet the challenges posed by global teams and new processes.

So, will I see you (virtually) on the 16th? I’m looking forward to it. Register for this talk here.

Leading the Talk: Larry Kunz

Leading the Talk: Larry Kunz

Information Architect, Extreme Networks; STC Fellow

Larry Kunz, an Information Architect with Extreme Networks, is a seasoned project manager and facilitator, having planned and executed content-development projects for several different companies. These projects included forming teams, defining workflows, and recommending tools. Larry teaches the Project Management section of Duke University’s Technical Communication certificate program. He holds the rank of STC Fellow and received the STC President’s Award for leading the Society’s strategic planning effort.

“Have exciting things to share about Technical Communication? Email me for collaboration.”