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Documentation managers are often in charge of teams of specialists as they create technical documentation. The managers may be responsible for department budgets and the quality of work produced. An understanding of technology, excellent communications skills and the ability to work with others are helpful for someone interested in a documentation management career.
These managers frequently lead teams of technical writers and other technical communicators. A documentation manager may have responsibility for hiring and firing, and evaluating the performance of team members. In addition, the manager may assign work to her team of documentation specialists, and develop training plans to help them improve their skills.
Other tasks that may fall to the documentation manager include developing a budget and managing to it. This may involve balancing the time team members are given to work on a project against the level of quality needed. The manager may help develop processes, procedures and quality standards for her team. In some organizations, the documentation manager may also assist in the creation of technical communications, such printed training manuals, online help and technical specifications.
This field often relies heavily on technology. The documentation manager may need to spend time learning about trends that affect her organization’s industry, and her team’s tools and procedures. Not all trends, however, will be technical. For example, an increase in an area’s immigrant population may mean documentation should be made available in multiple languages, rather than just one.
Any organization that produces technical documentation that needs to be created, distributed and tracked may employ documentation managers. Some examples of these types of organizations include software development and utility companies. Other organizations that may hire these types of managers are manufacturers of industrial, chemical or technical products.
A four-year degree in a related field such as communications or technical writing can be helpful for someone interested in becoming a documentation manager. Writing skills are usually essential, and basic graphic design skills may be helpful. The prospective manager may start her career as a technical writer or communicator. As she gains skills and experience, she may wish to apply for management positions.
Some traits that are helpful for seeking documentation manager jobs include attention to detail, and excellent written and oral communication skills. The manager should be able to quickly grasp technical concepts and translate them in a way that non-technical audiences can understand. She should be able to work effectively with her team and other employees. The manager may need to negotiate with her peers regarding their subordinates assistance on writing projects as subject matter experts (SMEs).
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