Technical writing projects come in all shapes and forms, and every independent consultant technical writer has been asked to write operations manuals for companies. Interestingly enough, every operations manual seems to be a little different.
The most interesting manuals that you can write for a company are the internal manuals that are used by the executives and the middle managers to run the company. Not long ago, someone had asked me to write an internal recruitment strategy manual for their rather large service company.
That didn’t sound like it would be very difficult, but what was difficult was trying to get them to come to terms of exactly what they wanted in the recruitment manual, in actuality they didn’t even know what type of people they were looking for, to work in their different business units. This makes it extremely tough when the company doesn’t even know what it wants you to write in the manual.
They indicated that they had been making mistakes with recruitment, and those mistakes were coming back to bite them, and they figured the best way to solve this problem was to have a standardized manual that everyone followed. As they explained all the mistakes they’ve made in the past and all the various scenarios, it became apparent to me that this little project was going to be a rather large project and require a lot more thinking and strategizing than merely working as a writer to put together this project for them.
If you ever have a similar situation here is what I recommend you do; find out from each of the top executives exactly the personality type, educational levels, the backgrounds experience that are required for the various jobs. Then you need to have a series of questions in the manual that the recruiters can ask him verify that the individuals meet the criteria.
You also need a chapter on what to look for on the resume. And to keep everyone happy, your manual must be indicative of the thought process of the most senior executives when they choose who will fill the shoes throughout their service organization.
All this is easier said than done, but to do it right you’re going to have to spend a lot of time with the senior management so that you can see their business through their eyes. Once you get the hang of that you can put pen to paper, and have a rough outline in about a half a day and have the entire manual written in less than a week. Please consider all this.
Lance Winslow – Lance Winslow’s Bio. Lance Winslow is also Founder of the Car Wash Guys, a cool little Franchise Company; http://www.carwashguys.com/history/founder.html/.