No doubt about it, being a technical writer ain’t what it used to be. For good or ill, organizations have often devalued the work, and now, as we hurtle headlong into the age of digital content, many of those creators of technical content face an “adapt or die” challenge. “User assistance is overhead,” and “where’s the ROI?” Sound familiar? In fact, this phenomenon has been happening for far longer than you might imagine… for proof just check the TechWhirl archives. Even up to last week the debate on what we do and how to label ourselves rages on. Since we’ve owned TechWhirl, we’ve monitored, posted and even presented at conferences on the need to master business skills beyond the core technical writer skill set—it’s crucial to having any kind of career path, whether you plan to stay in tech comm or not. One of those key business skills is creating a business case. Seems like a simple process, and technical communicators are good at processes, right? That’s what we’d like to know, based on your experience in making business cases in your organizations.
What’s been your experience in proposing something to your employer? Have you been able to get to a formal presentation, or are you shut down from the start? We’ve talked with lots of communicators who are looking for specific tools to make their case, and hear and feel their frustration at the management cold shoulder. We’ve talked to a few who are in the midst of implementing what they successfully proposed. And we want to dive into what makes one case succeed where another fails. How do you plan out a business case, and what elements do you include? Who’s involved in the planning, and who’s involved in the presenting, and has that made a difference in your success or lack thereof?
Preparing business cases may be one of those “easy to learn, impossible to master” situations. By sharing what works, and what doesn’t, we’d like to have a conversation that benefits our community as they try to conquer the challenges ahead. You know what comes next: take a minute to vote, and take another couple to post a comment on your experiences.