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Handoff between Engineering and Technical Writing

Handoff between Engineering and Technical Writing

Handoff between Engineering and Technical Writing

Our company manufactures analytical instruments; we do our hardware and software development in-house, as well as most of our manufacturing. Our Technical Writing department creates the Operator Manual, Installation Instructions, Upgrade Instructions, etc. for our instruments. Other than the system specifications that are developed for our products along with the software and engineering drawings, the technical writing staff is not provided anything else from our Engineering department. The technical writers can ask for exploded renderings from the mechanical engineering group, or step-by-step instructions for installing the instrument from the system engineer, but they have to ask for this information. Do most Technical Writing departments have to pull information out of engineering, or is the necessary information to create an Operator Manual or technical document pushed to the Technical Writing department?

RE: Handoff between Engineering and Technical Writing

As with many business problems, this is a management issue. Engineers can't be bothered, blah, blah... However, they then get annoyed at noobie users because the instructions aren't clear or aren't correct. There should be a come to Jesus meeting, wherein the engineers have to buy into the fact that documentation quality can often sink a product, and that it's their best interests for job longevity to have high quality and CONCISE documentation. Lexus 450H hybrid has, no doubt, quality documentation, but it weighs more than my Calculus text from high school, which was voluminous. The stack of manuals from Lexus is easily 2 1/2 inches.

The second thing that the engineers need to do is to actually read the finished product and attempt to make use of it. THAT's where the rubber meets the road.

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Of course I can. I can do anything. I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!

RE: Handoff between Engineering and Technical Writing

The 2 places I've worked in very different locations & fields both more or less go by Tech Pubs pulling the information.

However, my former employer this didn't mean that Engineering dragged their feet over it etc. - they supported tech pubs pretty well but the effort was led by tech pubs asking for stuff, asking for us to review it etc.

Current place we are more like IRstuff describes. I personally try to be more proactive with tech pubs for some of the reasons IRstuff mentions but I'm probably the exception.

So I guess my point is, having Tech Pubs pull isn't necessarily bad - so long as they don't have to pull too hard.

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