documentation - What department do your technical writers work for


What department do your technical writers work for? [closed]

I’m doing a bit of research to help inform a decision I need to make at work regarding the positioning of my tech writing team (I'm the team lead). I’ve come across a number of helpful articles on the subject, but what I’d really love to get is some direct feedback/advice from people in the software development community (writers, engineers, delivery leads, etc.) SOME BACKGROUND INFO: I write user-facing product documentation, i.e. user guides, how-to articles. I proofread API documentation, but don't write it myself. The company I work for (a SaaS product) is expanding which has resulted in some hierarchal changes and the formation of new departments. When I started with the company, 3 years ago, I joined our customer support team and there are many reasons why it makes sense for us to stay there – but there’s also a growing number of reasons why it doesn’t. For example: Weekly meetings focused heavily on front-line support, which we TWs don’t do. Monthly reporting responsibilities that don’t make a lot of sense for the kind of work we do (every month my report begins, “We’re currently documenting feature x…”) There are more in-depth reasons to support the case for repositioning, but I’ll just cut to the chase for now. MY QUESTIONS ARE: What team are the technical writers part of where you work? Are the technical writers closely involved with development teams? For agile teams, are TWs part of sprint planning meetings? What are your thoughts, if any, on where TWs would be best placed to produce good product documentation? documentation agile-project-management user-documentation edited Oct 7 '15 at 13:13

asked Oct 7 '15 at 9:16

carleecomm 1


closed as off-topic by EJoshuaS, Stedy , Will, mVChr, Matthew Strawbridge Nov 30 at 18:02 This question does not appear to be about programming within the scope defined in the help center. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it isn't about programming. – EJoshuaS Jul 9 at 23:22

3 I'm voting to close this question as it's completely off-topic. – Will Nov 30 at 17:51

2 Answers

A Scrum team should have all the skills necessary to deliver a product and that includes help guides and other documentation. They will often include this documentation in their 'definition of done'. For example a team might say that for a story to be done the technical documentation and user guide has to be updated. If a technical writer sits outside of the Scrum team then it creates an external dependency. This external dependency complicates planning, coordination and communication. If you are running Scrum then I would recommend having the technical writers sit within the teams. That means they attend all the sprint meetings, including planning, backlog refinement, daily stand-ups and showcases. It is possible that the one team does not provide enough work to keep the technical writer busy full time. In that situation they can help out with other team activities or alternatively they can bring stories/tasks in to the team's sprint that are from outside of the team's usual backlog. answered Oct 7 '15 at 17:17

Barnaby Golden 2,694




To add to Barnaby Golden's good answer for which I agree that, by following the agile precepts 1) your team benefits from diversity, so keep the technical writer in the team, 2) do not split your teams in part time members, your technical writer(s) can become extremely good and commited testers. This is because they won't have the bias of some people invested in the code, and will have an incredible drive to test every feature and report anything that does not work as expected. Therefore, if you manage to give more responsibilities to your technical writer, it will pay of since your features will undergo more testing and review, your technical writer will feel more engaged, and you can fully occupy him/her within the team. answered Feb 9 '16 at 4:34

Jorge Torres 976



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documentation - What department do your technical writers work for

What department do your technical writers work for? [closed] I’m doing a bit of research to help inform a decision I need to make at work regarding t...

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