Published on March 18th, 2006 | by Rahel Bailie0
Hiring decisions change along with process maturity
The ways that companies hire technical writers changes as companies mature. I stumbled across an article by JoAnn Hackos who talks about what we in the technical communication industry have discussed amongst ourselves for as long as I can remember. The difference is that Hackos articulates it will and puts the discussion into the framework of a process maturity model.
Briefly, the steps go like this:
- Level 1: Do it ourselves. The developers put together some documentation as time allows.
- Level 2: Do it yourself. The development manager hires a self-starter who understands the technology can operate without much supervision, and hopes the writer knows how to creating content.
- Level 3: Do we know a writer? The technology team realizes that, like an accountant needs to know about accounting principles rather than the company’s technology, a technical communicator needs to know about content development models and have solid abilities in that field.
- Level 4: Hire team members. The management team shifts to realize that content is an integral part of product development, and the writer becomes more of a developer whose development area is content instead of code.
- Level 5: Look for contributors. The executive team recognizes the critical value of content to the success of the product and makes room at the table for someone who can make strategic decicions around how content can contribute to product value, be leveraged for additional purposes, and drive development efficiencies.
Where is your organization on the process maturity scale?