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Subject:Re: Manufacturing From:twriter01 -at- mindspring -dot- com To:techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com Date:Wed, 20 Aug 2003 11:24:57 -0600
Offline Discussion Summary:
Are there any tech writers out there, who work in a Manufacturing
environment--specifically writing and revising procedures--and who are
interested in having an offline discussion about their writing processes?
Email me. Thanks.
FOLLOW UP QUESTION
Well, I'm curious what your writing process is when you have several
procedures to revise. And, the procedures are completely new to you. Which
of the following do you do before you begin to revise:
A) Actualy walk through the entire procedure with the production person
B) Simply read and understand the procedure and go back and forth with the
SME if you have questions
C) Make only requested changes without reading or understanding the
D) Other. Please explain.
Thanks for your insight,
When it comes to revisions, I usually only make requested changes, though
do try to read and understand what it's about, just in case they made a
mistake I might catch (yes, even if it's completely new to you, you might
I hope that helps. If you have more questions, let me know!
To answer all of the above....YES!
>>A) Actualy walk through the entire procedure with the production person
I do this a lot with the hardware guys during and after assembly. I have
to detail each little
move, and sometimes the hardware guys take things for granted. They joke
about the techwriter
with a screwdriver, or a calibration tool, but it is necessary. If they
have the time, they break
down the assembly for me, and I take notes. This introduces a lot of
"Special Note, do this
before this because of this" into the documentation, which I have found
users really like.
I really like this process when it is available. It allows me to see
everything that needs done,
and if I get to do it, even better. It also breaks up the sometimes
monotonous writing day.
>>B) Simply read and understand the procedure and go back and forth with
the SME if you have
I do this when someone else writes the procedure. I also do a lot of
comparing to the engineering
drawings when I can. Most of the time, the procedure is similar to
something else we have done
and I can catch errors and say "Hey Mr. SME, do you have to do X before Y
Sometimes I ask others to write procedures because I am unavailable when
the assembly is done.
The SMEs are great about it really...not the best of writers, but they
always throw together an
outline for me to go back and edit. I usually get the chance to verify
this as well.
>>C) Make only requested changes without reading or understanding the
I almost never do this, but sometimes I run into the occasional
anal-retentive SME or boss that
doesn't want the content changed. The people that do this are pretty good
writers, and if I feel
strongly, they will entertain my thoughts.
>>D) Other. Please explain.<<
Hmmm. Sometimes, like just now, I stand around and observe for an hour or
so, just to glean
information. I attend as many meetings as I can for as long as I can
stand, just so I have the
information. This makes writing procedures a little easier in the long
run, and it makes the SMEs
appreciate me a little more.
I can't imagine these are too much different than what a normal TW would
Depends on my options. If I can, I totally want to:
(1) read the procedure,
(2) see the procedure in action,
(3) talk to the SME about the procedure,
(4) mull over all of the above before handing in final edits,
in that order.
Sometimes that isn't possible, sometimes the edits I've been asked to make
would make all of that a total waste of a lot of people's time (currently,
have 4 real revisions in the air and am working on updating the numbering
some others -- I don't need to see these last in action and they've been
signed off on by their departments as structurally sound, so I just need
make them match the current template; but even here if I see something
I don't think it makes sense, I'll go harass some poor soul).
But I won't settle for much less than option B for a real revision.