Chocolate, dragons, technical writers and team spirit

A few days ago, our technical writing team went on a chocolate outing. This is not a rare occurrence. 🙂 This time I have some pictures and a few musings about the confluence of teams and chocolate.


Chocolate, dragons and technical writers


Chocolate, dragons and technical writers


Chocolate, dragons and technical writers

We decided that was one user guide we could all follow without difficulty!


For me, one of the most important aspects of my job is the team I work with. After all, I spend most of my waking life with them. It’s good to build up some common interests, other than the work itself, so that you have something to talk about, something to bind you together, even something to complain about.

I think fun is very important. But “fun” is a fuzzy concept. People have different ideas of what constitutes fun and technical writing teams typically consist of very disparate individuals. So how on earth do you find something that everyone will consider fun, interesting and invigorating?

Funnily enough (heh), we’ve found that it just happens. We have a great bunch of people in our team. Every one of us wants everyone else to feel good in the team. So when a possible “common interest” arises, everyone buys into it.


Earlier I wrote that it’s even good to have something to complain about together. Don’t we all love to exclaim in anguished tones, and isn’t it a good thing if the object of such gleeful anguish is not our job! I have a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon above my desk at work, showing Calvin’s father with a mangled bicycle, obviously the result of a bad stack. The caption reads something like:

“The secret to enjoying your job is to have a hobby that is even worse.”

Our technical writing team is keen on rollerblading. Actually, we’ve only done it once, but we plan to get out there again soon. And being keen doesn’t mean we do it well, just that we’re happy to give it a go. Or simply to watch our team mates fall off the blades! We made it into the Cherryleaf I’m a technical writer and I’m not boring annals.

But can you guess what the most popular common interest is? You got it: chocolate. And it’s not something we complain about!


We’ve taken to “rewarding” other people, those who are not fortunate enough to be technical writers, when they do something that improves the documentation. How do we reward them? With chocolate of course.

Our latest reward went to Jens, who is doing some awesome work on a “documentation” theme for Confluence wiki. (Yes, it’s true! I’ll let you know more about it when there’s a prototype ready for trial.)

We went to at Max Brenner in George Street, Sydney. Clockwise from the left, here are Rosie, Jens, Ed, Giles and Andrew (I was taking the photo):

Chocolate, dragons and technical writers

Chocolate, dragons and technical writers

Lucky Jens!


Another thing we do to engender team spirit is to dress alike. 😉

Heh, just kidding. But on this occasion, we all made sure that we wore our new Atlassian Dragon Quest T-shirts.

Warning! The shirts are very green. When we all appeared together, an involuntary gasp of horror escaped Penny, one of our QA engineers:

“My eyes, my eyes.”

So here we are, the Atlassian technical writers on a chocolate outing in our Dragon Quest T-shirts. Clockwise from the left — Ed, Giles, Andrew, Rosie and Sarah:

Chocolate, dragons and technical writers
Chocolate, dragons and technical writers

I count myself extremely lucky to be part of such a great team! Do you have any stories about what your team gets up to?

About Sarah Maddox

Technical writer, author and blogger in Sydney

Posted on 29 November 2009, in atlassian, Confluence, technical writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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