Technical Writing Manager: Definition, Responsibilities, Job Description

Posted by
Elmira in Technical Writing on 4/6/20225 min read

people sitting at computers working

Technical writers supporting your business may be high-caliber professionals, but without due supervision and management they will remain just a group of authors each working separately. To make the team really co-operative, a new position, that of a technical writing manager, has to be introduced.

What Is a Technical Writing Manager?

This is actually a ‘technical writer manager’ – a person who is in charge of your team of authors who produce most of the technical documentation (like policies and procedures, user manuals, and so on) in your company. In this respect, he/she can be called a technical communication manager whose work is to establish understanding between the team members and thus enhance the quality of their work.

On the other hand, this position can be called ‘technical documentation manager’ as the job of the person in charge is not only to coordinate the work of several authors but also to structure this work by producing a plan and a schedule for the upcoming document issues.

Technical Writing Manager Responsibilities

As a ‘communication manager’, the technical writing manager has to deal with the following issues:

  • Hire a team of high-caliber writers. Co-operate with the HR department in interviewing the applicants for the job. Suggest criteria for hiring, develop interview scenarios and strategies. Offer test assignments (HR specialists are often at loss when it comes to practical testing of applicants).
  • Know the strength and weaknesses of every employee. Some might have a technical background (in IT, design, or engineering) that will be an advantage.
  • Help the writers ‘upgrade’ their skills by editing their texts.
  • Ensure the coordination of all effort within the team: distribute assignments across the team taking into account the individual characteristics of every person: pro-activity/lack thereof, overall efficiency (scope of work done within a period and its quality), availability/non-availability of a technical background, etc.; distribute the workload evenly so as to avoid ‘overworking’; prioritize tasks.
  • Align the team effort with the general course and policy of the company (ensure that the company goals are met).

As we can see from the list above, the work of a technical writing manager is to some extent close to that of an HR person. Both have to deal with people, analyze their ‘profiles’ and distribute tasks depending on their personal characteristics.

However, the responsibilities are not limited to HR management. A technical writing manager has to possess strategic thinking and provide the team of writers with a clear overview of the scope of work (content of documents to be developed) and a work schedule. In this respect, a technical writing manager becomes a ‘technical documentation manager’ who performs a planning function. In coordination with other divisions, he/she defines what documents are to be issued by the team and manages the workflow.

Technical Writing Manager vs Technical Writer

Still, one may wonder why a team of professional writers should need a manager. The team members might think that they already possess all the skills necessary for the production of effective documents both for internal and external purposes. The table below shows the differences in the responsibilities of a technical writer and a technical writing manager in what concerns the daily workflow and its management.

Workflow and Workflow Management

table responsibilities comparison

As you can see from the table above, the responsibilities can be split into six groups. The responsibilities are close as they refer to the same field (workflow and workflow management) but not equal. The responsibilities of a technical writer are limited to his/her own scope of work, while a technical writing manager is responsible for the whole team.

Apart from the Workflow management field, a technical writing manager has other responsibilities, which are principally different from those of a technical writer’s. They make the essence of the manager’s job and can be classified as HR-similar responsibilities and strategic functions.

HR-similar responsibilities:

  • Head-hunting and hiring of technical writers, participation in the interviewing process: suggesting criteria for hiring, offering test assignments, etc.
  • Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of every employee (a technical background, overall writing and editing skills, ability for multitasking, meeting the deadlines, teamwork skills, etc.).

Strategic functions:

  • Aligning the team effort with the general policy of the company.
  • Planning: defining what documents are to be issued by the team and developing a work schedule.

Technical Writing Manager Salary

According to Comparably (a popular site for comparing employers, brands, and salaries), the salaries of technical writing managers in the United States range from $60,035 to $170,323, with a median salary of $100,316 . The middle 57% of Technical Writing Managers makes between $100,316 and $123,450, with the top 86% making $170,323.

According to Investopedia (a resource aimed at simplifying financial decisions and manage financial life), the average salary of a technical writing manager ($100,316) is not on the list of the highest annual salaries. Only the most successful with a salary amounting to $170,323 can be theoretically put on this list close to such positions as Computer and information systems managers ($161,730) and Architectural and engineering managers ($158,100).

Technical Writing Manager Job Description Example

Below is an example of requirements for the position of a technical writing manager. The vacancy was published by Google and is targeted at applicants in Seattle.

Minimum qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent practical experience.
  • 5 years of experience managing or leading technical writers.
  • Experience in team management.
  • Experience with source code written in Java, C++, Python and/or JavaScript.

Preferred qualifications:

  • 10 years of technical writing experience.
  • Experience producing technical documentation for a developer audience.
  • Ability to manage multiple competing priorities in a fast-paced, constantly changing environment.
  • Ability to build relationships and advocate the craft with internal stakeholders.
  • Written and spoken communication skills.

man working at laptop

Conclusion

The position of a technical writing manager is essential for your business if it implies developing documents on a permanent basis, especially when there is a team of authors working in co-operation with each other. This position will help to streamline your business and meet the company goals.

Good luck with your technical writing!
ClickHelp Team
Author, host and deliver documentation across platforms and devices

 

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