RE: Advice on managing new tech writer

Subject: RE: Advice on managing new tech writer
From: Beth Agnew <Beth -dot- Agnew -at- senecac -dot- on -dot- ca>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2006 11:06:41 -0700

A great thing to do right off the bat is take a little time to get to know
each other. Have a Skype or voice chat about whatever you like - hobbies,
family, neighborhood, career aspirations, just find the common ground. Once
you've warmed up the channels of communication, exchange expectations. This
is always good whenever there's a new manager/employee relationship. You ask
the employee to list their expectations of you, e.g., expect to be told
kindly when I make a mistake, expect to be given some training at some
point, etc. And you send expectations back: Expect to be notified as soon as
you see a potential problem, expect weekly status reports, etc.

You might go back and forth with your lists a couple of times to get them
complete, and then negotiate together which ones are realistic and that you
can support. This is where you find out what is supremely important to the
other person. If one of their expectations is "not to be micromanaged" and
yours is "close oversight of everything you do", then some compromise has to
be struck.

Based on that expectations exercise, you can establish a foundation for
future work. The next step is to talk about process. How do you want things
to proceed? Do you want weekly or even daily status reports? How often will
you speak together V2V (voice to voice). What is the best time of day to
contact you/her if something comes up that needs to be dealt with
immediately? What are the quality standards?

With an open channel of communication, a foundation of mutual respect, and
some idea of basic process, you're both ready to move forward with
confidence that you can figure everything else out as you go along.

Remember that there is a difference of experience, of training, and in this
situation, in culture, so never assume anything. Whether one's staff is down
the hall or across the globe, being friendly but professional, being
consistent, and positive, will always work. You may need to test a few
things, such as meeting deadlines, before any high-impact projects come
along. You will want to know whether their interpretation of things is the
same as yours. (And this is true for any employee, not necessarily one in
another country.) Make sure you state what you mean by "target" -- the exact
center of the bullseye, or just somewhere on the rings.

If you go in with the positive expectation that it will be a super
relationship that produces high quality work, it will be. If you think it's
going to be a disaster, it will be. The first is a lot less painful. :-)

Good luck, and enjoy this great opportunity!

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+beth -dot- agnew=senecac -dot- on -dot- ca -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+beth -dot- agnew=senecac -dot- on -dot- ca -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com]On
Behalf Of Julie Harrison
Sent: Wednesday, August 16, 2006 2:26 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Advice on managing new tech writer

Hello everybody!

I could really do with some advice on how to successfully manage a new
technical writer based on a different continent.


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Advice on managing new tech writer: From: Julie Harrison

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