Working with an engineering team

Earlier this week I spoke at a Write the Docs meetup in San Francisco. The topic was “Working with Engineers”. Kael Oisinson, a support engineer at Atlassian, gave a talk too. It was great meeting him and all the Write the Docs SF folks.

This was my first ever Write the Docs meetup. What a warm, enthusiastic group of people! There were 50 to 60 attendees (see the meetup description and attendee list). Most were technical writers, with a scattering of software engineers and support engineers.

Kael Oisinson, a support engineer at Atlassian, gave an engaging speech about the life of a support engineer who discovers the value of creating documentation as a way of scaling access to information. It was really good to hear a point of view that’s related to, but not exactly the same as, a technical writer’s. We should do that more often.

My presentation is available on SlideShare: Working with an Engineering Team. Here’s an outline of what we discussed:

  • Sit with the team
  • Grok teamwork and audience
  • Play with the team
  • Adopt the team’s methodologies
  • Get to know the tools
  • Gather and share information

The group was lively and fun, with plenty of interaction and questions. Thanks to Tom Johnson, Laura Stewart, and the Write the Docs SF organisers, for a great evening.

Update: Recording of a webinar on the same topic

I recently ran a webinar in conjunction with the Australian Society for Technical Communication, on the topic of working with an engineering team. A recording of the webinar is now available on Vimeo, and embedded below. Click the play button at bottom left to view it on this page.

About Sarah Maddox

Technical writer, author and blogger in Sydney

Posted on 23 January 2016, in technical writing, Write the Docs and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Shouldn’t Grok teamwork and audience be Grow teamwork and audience.

    • Hallo Sanket,
      I like “grok”. It means to completely understand something, to the point of that thing becoming part of you. Robert A Heinlein coined the word in a novel in the 60s.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: