Part II: The Changing Role of Technical Communicators : Role in the Organization
Role in the Organization
The role of the technical communicator within the organization has seen an enormous shift over the last forty years, with its most dramatic movements in the past fifteen years. They are no longer hovering over typewriters for months on end in an office basement, but rather joining agile teams on wikis and releasing documentation several times per week. Technical communicators with an aptitude for change have seen a well-deserved elevation in status. At many organizations, technical developers are now required to get involved with product development from day one, making it necessary to work as peers with members of the engineering team or other subject matter experts (SME). Developing documentation in compressed cycles requires professionals that can author, publish and share their deliverables in (sometimes) twenty-four hours or less. The writing, although critical, is often times just as imperative as the ability to rapidly deliver documentation to other departments in order to meet deadlines and rapidly deliver help to the screens of end users. In this new era, as the developer of technical documentation, the author is by default a textbook expert and is expected to leverage his or her knowledge to the benefit of the team and organization. They are expected to update documentation when code is augmented, inform development of bugs discovered while producing documentation and, most importantly, respond to end users’ feedback.