What Does a Technical Writer Really Do?

Technical writing in Israel is not just about gathering technical information and putting it down on paper.

It's really about gathering, organizing and distributing information to provide an inexpensive solution to an expensive problem. Your product or service may be the best, but if customers don't know how to use it - they won't. If you can't get your first line of support up and running quickly - you foot the bill.

To do this, technical writers often need to identify what the real needs are because clients and employers don't always know. And once we do identify those needs we need to meet them WITHOUT a budget. Understanding technology helps, knowing how to write is important too. But it's not always enough.

This is why many of the workshops at elephant deal with organizational skills like community building, coaching and negotiating skills. Some of the new columns that are planned will deal with these related skills that are not usually part of our job description, but help us get the job done.

One of the topics that I would like to have discussed here is Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) or Gishur in Hebrew. Although intended for resolution of disputes, many of the techniques used in ADR can be applied to needs analysis and information gathering. You want information - you need to know how to get it. If marketing tells you about one set of product features and teh developer tells you about something that doesn't really seem to match up - you need to get them to discuss the differences and make a decision quickly - who cares if its your job.

If you have a topic that you would like discussed in a column or at a workshop let me know. If you know of a good speaker have him/her contact me at ]]