The Technical Writer Project Manager

Sections of this topic

    The Technical Writer Project Manager (TW PM), has to be organized, analytical, detail-oriented, possess common sense and patience, and be an excellent communicator. The TW PM must plan, control, maintain, and be persistent in bringing the project to completion.

    To plan each project, the TW PM will have to:

    • analyze the project requirements,
    • set milestones which indicate the critical dates,
    • estimate the budget that is required to complete the project,
    • identify the types of documents (as well as format) required for the project,
    • select the appropriate resources (in source, outsource) to gather data, research, and create the content,
    • ensure that the right tools are available, and
    • determine whether or not the writers require training or need to be re-trained.

    To control the all the projects, the TW PM has to:

    • meet with all stakeholders to ensure that all requirements have been gathered,
    • interview subject matter experts (SME’s) and developers to ensure understanding of the new projects,
    • select appropriate team leaders to work on each project,
    • maintain communication between the team leaders or members,
    • maintain communication with all stakeholders to keep them informed of the projects status as well as to ensure that all required information has been gathered,
    • ensure that each team stays focused and on target to ensure delivery dates are met,
    • plan ahead and creates contingent plans for any unexpected delays and bottlenecks, and
    • ensure that all problems are resolved.

    To maintain management of the project, the TW PM has to:

    • generate reports on the projects, budgets and overall status of the projects as well as reporting any unexpected issues,
    • coordinate and manage the documentation (establish overall knowledge management processes and procedures which involve content taxonomies, styles, sharing, and distribution),
    • interact with other departments for process improvements,
    • perform final review/edit/proof reading prior to being published, and
    • ensure establishment of style guides (definitions, metadata, processes, etc.) to ensure accuracy and consistency.

    The TW as a PM has to focus on time, budget, and quality, as well as establish the high-level Project plan. One of the most important jobs of being a PM involves planning. Planning requires the PM to:

    • plan out the projects (determine the work breakdown) and set milestones (critical dates, as to when the project has to be delivered),
    • make sure that each team is informed of critical dates and ensure that team members will be available on specific dates, and
    • establish backup plans for unforeseen developments or circumstances.

    The TW PM has to also possess good judgment in selecting the right technical writers (or team leaders) for specific jobs. Once all of the necessary tasks have been prioritized, organized and under control, the project will be brought to fruition.