Why Not Let Writers do Your Technical Writing?
 
Why Not Let Writers do Your Technical Writing?

Software development takes some very specific and technical skills. When you build your web development team, you require that they can demonstrate a strong history on their resume to document that they are experienced in the craft of software development. But you go further than that. You also require that they know your particular hardware and software and perhaps even have some expertise in your business niche so they can properly ascertain the business need as well as the technical requirements to create a good software solution.

But many times top notch programmers, project leaders, data base administrators or web development gurus are not necessarily great writers. That is why too often when you finish a project, the one step that gets neglected or done poorly is the creation of the technical documentation to create a written roadmap of the technical solution or to create user documentation to help with the training process.

This is why of the many specializations in IT, technical writing is one that is a great choice for offshoring. Unless you are a IT business or have a very large IT shop with dozens of projects and developers, to keep the specialized knowledge, skills and tools of a professional technical writer on staff is just not practical. So those who devote themselves to the craft of technical writing often offer their services to businesses like yours on a contract basis so you can utilize their talents when you need them but not have to carry that overhead on your payroll.

Sometimes we isolate where in the project development process you might have need for a technical writer to just the documentation of the final outcome and perhaps the user training manuals. But there are a number of places along the development path that the use of talented technical writers is appropriate. The scope document, the requirements definition and the project development specifications are documents that need an individual who is a talented writer as well as knowledgeable in the technical issues so they can produce a document that will move the project along.

One of the areas that many projects experience delays is in the preparation of the necessary documentation that must be in place for any project to move from one phase to another. This is where having a technical writer on contract from a reliable firm that specializes in this kind of thing can jump-start the project and get it moving again. That writer can come in, get a grasp of the details of the project and because of a lengthy background in project documentation, produce the document you need to move to the next phase of software development.

It is important that you make sure that the writer you contract to perform this crucial function for your IT software development teams has the background and the experience to do the job. There are some very specific software tools such as Robohelp that a professional technical writer must be able to work with. There are big differences between generating an RFP to start the project, writing test cases for the testing phase of project development and generating online help to go out with the project so users can work with the product. Your technical writer should understand those differences and show expertise in preparing all of these documents.

When you recruit an outside firm to do your technical writing, you should use the same scrutiny you would for any new hire situation or for any other specialized skill. They should have a resume and references you can check. They should have examples from their history of every type of IT technical document you might need. And they should speak without hesitation and with competence both about the craft of technical writing and about your business area so you will not discover problems when the project is underway and you failed to find out if the technical writers understood your industry.

But once you have found a solid technical writing company to offshore this work to, that will be one of the prized business relationships you will nurture. This vendor will be able to keep your projects moving quickly by taking the burden of writing off of your skilled technical people so they can focus on what they do best, developing quality software projects for your business.



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Articles
Appropriate or Inappropriate Offshoring

Backing Into the Project Plan

Cyber Programmers

Finding the Right Offshore Software Developer

Help Staying Cutting Edge

How to Make a Mess of Offshoring

It's All in the Offshoring Contract

Know Your Contractor Inside Out

Living up to the Contract

Make Your Contractors Work for You

Making Sure Your Outsourced Project is on Track

Managing a Diverse Team

Minding the Store

Offshoring Testing

Offshoring Out of the Country

On Sending Your IT Work to India

Protecting Yourself in an Offshoring Situation

Selling Management on Software Development Offshoring

Taking the Teeth Out of Offshoring

Taking Your Web Development Elsewhere

The Contractor's Attitude

When NOT to Outsource

When the Contractors Leave

Who Can- Give You Great SEO?

Why Not Let Writers do Your Technical Writing?

 

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