Project management and organisational skills

All technical communicators need basic project management and organisational skills to be able to work through the documentation development process. Initially, these skills will be applied to managing their own time and activities but as their experience increases, it is likely that they will be required to supervise the work of other technical communicators. The level of supervision may vary from one project to another: from project leading several other writers to managing a complete project from end to end.

Project management and organisational skills include: <link each bullet point to grey headings below>

  • time management
  • document management
  • client management
  • resource management
  • project costing
  • process improvement
  • conflict resolution
  • software and tools.

Time management

Time management skills include:

  • managing own time (and time of other project staff if required)
  • managing projects from start to finish
  • change and risk management
  • tender process management
  • coordinating complex projects
  • scheduling and prioritising activities.

Document management

During the development of a document, a range of document management skills are required, including:

  • document management and version control
  • scoping and defining briefs
  • analysing tasks, dependencies, requirements
  • managing life cycles (process models)
  • file management (including archiving and security backups)
  • internal reporting.

Client management

Client management skills include:

  • managing stakeholder expectations
  • arranging and running productive meetings
  • managing reviews and sign offs
  • obtaining stakeholder support
  • obtaining stakeholder signoff.

Resource management

Resource management skills include:

  • management of resources such as people, finances, IT
  • staff and contractor management.

Project costing

Costing management skills include:

  • document project costing
  • awareness of financial and budgeting principles, especially in relation to your documentation project.

Process improvement

Improving the documentation process includes:

  • business process improvement
  • management of the development process
  • working with stakeholders to constantly improve the documentation process.

Conflict resolution

Dealing with conflicting organisational requirements and resolving personal and organisational conflicts.

Software and tools

Work within the limitations of the tools you have access to (but, if necessary, also help push for the adoption of better tools – to increase efficiency).

Any comments? (and please tell us where you are writing from)