Why does my business need a technical writer? Why pay someone to write when engineers, subject matter experts, and other employees already write for themselves? Do these questions come to mind when considering whether to bring a Technical Writer onboard to your business?
Just because your employees can write for themselves and their department, it doesn’t mean they have the skills to write for other audiences. Technical Writers are trained to take any form of documentation and translate it into different formats based on the audience type.
Audiences to Consider
Engineers, SMEs, and department experts may write their own documentation. But ask yourself, is that documentation professional and clear enough enough for:
A new employee may be highly skilled and experienced for the role they were hired for, with the ability to understand any technical documentation that is made available to them as they go through orientation. This fact doesn’t mean though that your current processes are documented from the level of someone just getting familiarized with the environment. It is common nature to write from your experience level and to forget what it was like to be a newbie at the job. Technical Writers by very nature of being unfamiliar with your processes will ask the right questions to flesh out the entire process as it should be presented to the type of audience(s) being written for.
3rd Party Audits and Investigations
Internal processes may not be the appropriate way to convey information if your business is audited. You don’t want to give away sensitive information that is contained in internal process documents. Consider if your business was to be investigated by a governmental department
- Legal investigations
- Compliance Auditing
Within business organizations, different departments often consider each other to be customers of one another. For IT, this is no exception as nearly everyone outside of the IT bucket will be their customer. For example, your HR department might like to know how the IT Department processes employee terminations. A process document showing every last step taken by different IT functions might be too technical an explanation. A skilled Technical Writer can take your internal documentation and produce a document that explains the processes to customers using language they understand and in a format appropriate to the type of information conveyed.
From Geek Speak to Layman’s Speak
Yes your engineers may be able to write their processes down to share with other engineers, but their documentation is written for an audience similar to them. This is where a Technical Writer’s services are very valuable, in translating what I call “geek speak” into layman’s level documentation.
Consider that your employees may have too much information, such as sensitive information like server paths for example, and don’t know how to convey the overall process without giving away information that could create vulnerabilities.