Managing Writers: Interview with Richard Hamilton (podcast)
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Length: 35 min.
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.
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
About Tom Johnson
I'm a technical writer based in the Seattle area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.