Re: manager credibility

Subject: Re: manager credibility
From: "Ned Bedinger" <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 2004 15:04:18 -0800

RE: manager credibilityYes! I thoroughly agree
that more awareness and experience with tech
writing makes for better tech writing managers.
I've taken MBA coursework, it is good and
interesting stuff, but far too abstract to apply
directly to documention task management. Hope you
broke him in gently :-)

Edwin was getting exercised about managers who
have difficulty managing remote team members--I
imagine he's talking about something like a
manager who places a high value on "face time" and
therefore expects remote workers to appear in the
office for every meeting or whatever. Maybe Edwin
will fill me in on the management issues he's on

For my money, face time is one of those sticking
points for remote workers and it needs up-front
explanation from managers who require it, or it
can turn remote writer / manager relations
adversarial. It seems to me that there are plenty
of objective measures of a remote writer's
performance that do not hinge on "face time."

Why a manager would be hung up on something like
this is an object of speculation for me, but I
can't hide the fact that I am an advocate of
virtual office/remote work solutions. Reading my
own list of speculative reasons (following), it
seems I am short on empathy for the manager, maybe
one of the managers reading the list can edify me?

1. Writer who is in the office isn't goofing off.

2. Manager with lots of people sitting at desks
outside his/her office door has more prestige than
one who manages a virtual team.

3. The "people-person" thing. They just want you
around for intangible reasons.

4. Virtual is a euphemism for "I don't need a

5. They "just know" that you need to be in the
office. Maybe because it has always been that

There are so many qualitative and quantitative
aspects and attributes of tech writing that are
not apparent to the uninitiated. While an MBA or
other management-oriented training can apply to
tech writing management, the classroom training
and practice in business skills does not confer
any practical experience with writing task
management like scheduling, tool selection, work
load assignment, etc. Knowing the writers and
their work is the best

----- Original Message -----
From: Wright, Lynne
To: Ned Bedinger ; TECHWR-L
Sent: Tuesday, March 30, 2004 11:49 AM
Subject: RE: manager credibility

If you ask me, the problem is that in the Old
Days, in order to be a manager, you had to learn
business skills by starting out as a peon, and
working your way up by demonstrating that you were
capable. So managers got hands-on experience and
insights in how the company worked, and learned
practical management skills by doing.


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