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Managing Writers: Interview with Richard Hamilton (podcast)

by Tom Johnson on Mar 23, 2009
categories: book-reviews podcasts

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Richard Hamilton is the author of Managing Writers: A Real World Guide to Managing Technical Documentation. His book, published in 2009, is one of the few books written specifically for managers that addresses the diversity of issues that managers face today – everything from hiring and firing to motivating, metrics, outsourcing, localization, content management, and more.

Managing Writers
Managing Writers

Richard describes the book as follows:

Managing Writers is a practical guide to managing technical documentation projects in the real world. It is informal, but concise, using examples from the author's experience working with and managing technical writers. It looks beyond big project, big team methodologies to the issues faced by smaller, less well-funded projects.

I actually met Richard Hamilton at Doc Train West 2008. At the time, he was still writing his book, but he handed me a brochure describing the book title and its contents. I'm glad to see that some months after our conversation, he published it.

A few weeks ago, Richard sent me a review copy, so I decided to interview him for a podcast. In our conversation, we cover the following:

  • Hiring and firing employees
  • What to look for in resumes
  • Danger points in interviews
  • Motivating your team
  • Rating and ranking
  • Overcoming differences about tools
  • Measuring success with metrics
  • The importance of documentation plans
  • Getting involved early in the software development process
  • Ensuring proper allocation and balance across your team
  • Evaluating whether writers need managers

For more information, see Richard Hamilton's book, Managing Writers. You can also read Richard Hamilton's blog. He has made a sample chapter available here: What Doc Managers Look for in a Resume.

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

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