- Paperback: 280 pages
- Publisher: XML Press; 1st edition (December 31, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0982219105
- ISBN-13: 978-0982219102
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,118,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Managing Writers: A Real World Guide To Managing Technical Documentation 1st Edition
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This short book is full of useful information and hard-earned opinions. Whether you manage writers or would rather just sit in your cubicle and write, you need to read this book. It is the most practical and realistic book I have seen on the subject, and I recommend it highly. --Richard Mateosian, IEEE Micro, January/February 2010 (added by author)
From the Back Cover
Managing Writers is a practical guide to managing technical documentation projects in the real world. If you are a technical writer managing his or her own work, a manager in another discipline who is responsible for technical documentation, or are interested in what it means to be a documentation manager, this book is for you.
Managing People: How to hire, motivate, manage change, and evaluate performance.
Managing Projects: How to increase your team's influence, manage schedules more effectively, balance multiple projects, and collaborate with the rest of the product development team.
Managing Technology: How to decide what technology you need, what you do not need, how to acquire what you need, how to avoid common pitfalls, and how to stay ahead of the technology curve. (added by author)
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It is a reference guide in my view, because you can go straight to the table of contents and pick from the list of topics. Want to get your arms around people? Refer to many chapters on Managing People. Need to know insider information on projects before it spirals out of control? Stop the spin machine and go to the pages about Managing Projects. Wondering if the latest alphabet-based tossed salad of acronyms will actually solve your user's information problems? Hightail it to the Managing Technology chapters. Each of his chapters offers the depth and detail you'd need when faced with a situation you hadn't seen before. For example, if you're new to Localization, the information offered will help you ask the right questions and help you get started while avoiding headaches and "time sinks."
As I read through this book, I felt like I was having a nice long lunch with one of my favorite managers. It's sprinkled with stories and phrases like "gold-plated Cadillac." I enjoyed reading about his path to technical publications. It seems many people are eager to leave tech pubs once they start in it. Richard didn't know much about tech pubs, and wondered if he was leaving the world of technology, but accepted a position anyway. He was willing to learn and stay with it. And stay with it he did, for many years beyond the first two he promised to the hiring manager.
Whether you're already managing a handful of writers or just starting out, or if you're hoping to move towards management in technical publications, I think you'll find this book helpful. Even an experienced tech pubs manager will enjoy hearing another's perspective and will find many familiar themes that match their own companies and product documentation.
A few chapters that are particularly useful for TCs include:
"Hiring", which gives insight into the reasons for hiring or not hiring someone, invaluable info if you are looking for a job;
"Measurement and metrics", useful for TCs who are confronted by a page-count-per-day metric, suggesting what could be measured instead;
"Project planning", how to deal with unreasonable schedules, and how to help engineering solve their documentation problems while solving your own;
"Managing technology", which describes how to select tools that support the way you (want to) work, instead of the other way around.
Overall, the book gives some good suggestions how to increase your credibility and influence as a TC/TC department, and how to create better relationships with other departments. In the end, this will probably make your job a lot easier, and fun.