TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Thank you for that response Kevin. Almost every help authoring tool I've
seen functions differently (sometimes requiring a different mindset), and
the answer when changing tools shouldn't be to "displace" the writers you
previously had and replace them with techwriters who have experience on the
I currently use Help and Manual. If I switch to Flare or Doc to Help or AIT,
I'm going to need some time to learn the nuances of the new software. Does
the fact that I will not be up and running in a few hours with a new tool
mean that I am a crappy techwriter? Should I recommend that my company
dispose of me and hire someone who has experience with the new tool
(although I will guarantee that it will take someone months to fully
understand our very complex financial software suite)?
On Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 11:48 AM, McLauchlan, Kevin <
Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com> wrote:
> John and Bill were saying:
> > Amen, John. Amen.
> > On Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 5:04 PM, John Posada
> > <jposada99 -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
> > >> Wouldn't it be something if you could buy software that required
> > >>little to no training, and caused little to no loss of productivity?
> > >
> > > You can.
> > >
> > > Hire experienced technical writers that don't require a learning
> > > curve. What you are paying for with new software is not the
> > CERTAINTY
> > > of needing training...what you are paying for is that your EXISTING
> > > writers cannot pick it up as soon as they pick it up.
> > THAT'S the cost
> > > of getting writers on the cheap.
> > >
> > > Bring in writers at a little higher money, with experience, and even
> > > if the writer never saw the particular application, you will get
> > > production in a very short time, maybw within hours.
> HOWEVER... a writer who's never seen the particular tool
> before will necessarily bring to it the approaches and
> experience s/he's had with other tools.
> So, there they are, 7 hours after arriving at your
> company, dutifully cranking out their first page or
> two of Help, as they did it with Doc2Help.
> But they're using (say) Flare now, with no previous
> experience and a [n apparently] frantic deadline to
> provide some evidence of motion. (Gotta justify having
> displaced [former?] in-house writer[s].) So they start.
> Weeks later, it becomes apparent that there are some
> problems due to having used pliers as though they
> were a wrench. Considerable backtracking and fixing
> is necessary on dozens of pages. Stuff that the writer
> didn't understand about the Flare design philosophy
> has been bolluxed and must be rectified before the
> single-source stuff will work properly.
> Finding this out, and then finding out how to fix it,
> and then fixing it... turns out to take about as long
> as giving the displaced in-house writers a three-day
> training or access to (and time for) the Flare Webinars.
> Plus, of course, the disgruntled or dismissed in-house
> writer takes away her/his headful of years of experience
> and history with your products.
> - Kevin (playing devil's advocate)
Gain access to everything you need to create and publish information
through multiple channels. Your choice of authoring (and import)
formats with virtually any output. Try Doc-To-Help free for 30-days. http://www.doctohelp.com/
You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-