Positioning TC as a Management FunctionIdeas to Add Value to Your Organization<br />Joel A. Kline,  APR<br />Lebanon Valle...
Introduction<br />TC practitioners struggle for legitimacy and relevancy<br />In our quest to position Technical Communica...
Overview<br />I. Positioning Yourself as a Manager<br />Problem<br />Positioning<br />Strategies<br />Tactics<br />II. Pos...
I. Positioning Yourself for Management<br />
The Problem  <br />TC is often seen as a cost center, not a profit center<br />TC is not viewed by most in the company as ...
Relationship between People, Information, and Technology<br />Copyrighted by Business Driven Technology, 3rd Edition, Balt...
Case Study from PR Industry<br />Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is constantly reminding practitioners about ga...
Think like a Manager<br />Strategically<br />Understand the company’s business model<br />Consider cost vs. profit centers...
Learning to Think Strategically<br />Ability to plan for unforeseen events and climates<br />Take into account the consequ...
Steps to Management<br />Assess what you manage and communicate it<br />Use Subject Matter expertise to your advantage<br ...
Manager Assessment <br />Ask yourself, “what do I manage”<br />Develop a list which might include projects, knowledge, and...
Develop /Leverage PM skills<br />Project Management (PM) provides a great platform to develop management skills.<br />Use ...
Tactics<br />Manager of Collaboration<br />Manager of Users<br />Manager of Business Technology<br />Knowledge Manager<br ...
Manager of Collaboration<br />Use your collaboration experience and knowledge of collaboration tools to position yourself ...
GET STARTED with Collaboration<br />Write a short case study or article for an internal publication that provides tips on ...
Manager of Users<br />Leverage your understanding of users, both internal and external, into a role as manager of users<br...
GET STARTED with Users<br />Choose internal or external users. Show the responsible department how you can add value with ...
Business Technology Manager<br />Use your understanding of technology and business operations to manage the recommendation...
GET STARTED with BizTech<br />Pitch a role to IT services and show how it will allow IT to be more responsive to requests ...
Knowledge Manager<br />Position yourself as the manager of knowledge for the company by demonstrating proficiency in the t...
GET STARTED with KM<br />Start a cross-functional KM committee.<br />
Training Manager<br />Position yourself as a manager who can develop curriculum, educational technologies, and offer softw...
Training<br />Offer assistance, as time permits, to departments that need technology training<br />Build training curricul...
GET STARTED with Training<br />Take advantage of budget cuts/downsizing. Create a proposal to train employees in areas tha...
Content Manager<br />Position yourself as the manager of all disseminated content (web and other channels).<br />Integrate...
GET STARTED with CM<br />Work with a committee to push for a communications audit. This will determine what information (a...
The IT Example<br />IT, as a discipline, it often more open to management of “non-living” things.<br />IT has managers for...
Worst Case Scenario<br />You are seen as a facilitator, not manager<br />You have proven your value to the company<br />Yo...
II. Positioning the Field for Management<br />
Educate managers and future managers need to think strategically…<br />
What do we know?<br />What we have to offer – audience.<br />Companies struggle to identify, segment, and craft messages t...
Make the business case for TC<br />Students entering industry need to understand industry<br />Technical Communicators sho...
Collaborate on Research <br />Most of our research is either tool based or theory based<br />Tool and theory research are ...
Education<br />Another shortcoming in the management positioning for TC is our education. <br />Contrast the differences b...
Management Research is Ok<br />Management research is ok for the Humanists!<br />Researchers from all types of disciplines...
Conclusion<br />TC is not viewed as a management field or function<br />Positioning yourself as a manage will demonstrate ...
Collective Resources<br />STC Management SIG: http://www.stcsig.org/mgt<br />Send me some of your best management resource...
Questions ?<br />Joel A. Kline<br />jkline@lvc.edu<br />joelkline.com<br />
Work Cited<br />Grunig, J. (1992). Excellence in Public Relations and Communication Management. Lawrence Erlbaum Associate...
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Positioning technical communication as a management function

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  • Send me questions via chat – try to discuss them when they are relevant instead of at the end. Difficult to establish a discussion with you being muted – asking for this mute feature on my teenagers 2.0 upgrade
  • This is a diagram of the relationship between technology, information, and people. It presents some opportunities for TC practitioners. Historically, we have thought of managers as being people who manage other people. This is often true. Recently, however, we see people who are considered managers who manage in the other two areas: information and IT.
  • Our textbooks, our pedagogy, and our classes need to include strategic management oriented information.Strategic thinking requires exposure to other organizational science areas and places a value on the ability to see a project, business, or industry holistically.
  • Positioning technical communication as a management function

    1. 1. Positioning TC as a Management FunctionIdeas to Add Value to Your Organization<br />Joel A. Kline, APR<br />Lebanon Valley CollegeAnnville, PA (USA)<br />
    2. 2. Introduction<br />TC practitioners struggle for legitimacy and relevancy<br />In our quest to position Technical Communication (TC) as an important field, we completely fail to position ourselves as managers<br />Economically challenging times provide opportunities to demonstrate your value to the organization<br />This session will discuss some strategies for positioning yourself and our field for management<br />
    3. 3. Overview<br />I. Positioning Yourself as a Manager<br />Problem<br />Positioning<br />Strategies<br />Tactics<br />II. Positioning the Field for Management<br />Long term Impact for our Discipline<br />
    4. 4. I. Positioning Yourself for Management<br />
    5. 5. The Problem  <br />TC is often seen as a cost center, not a profit center<br />TC is not viewed by most in the company as a “management” function<br />People generally associate “management” with managing people.<br />TC rarely has a seat at the management table (upper level)<br />
    6. 6. Relationship between People, Information, and Technology<br />Copyrighted by Business Driven Technology, 3rd Edition, Baltzan, Phillips, and Haag. All rights reserved.<br />
    7. 7. Case Study from PR Industry<br />Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is constantly reminding practitioners about gaining a seat at the “management table.” <br />The field of PR argues for PR representation or advisement at the management level of every company.<br />The strategic importance of a voice in management is not lost on researchers or academics in the PR field. Management topics are ubiquitous in PR and are include the seminal book from James Grunig, Excellence in Public Relations and Communication Management (119), as well as in articles about PR managerial research such as Antecedents of Managerial Public Relations: a structural model examination, by Carmen and Luis Filipe Lages (2005).<br />Commentary on current events (such as Enron) from the organization to show the PR breakdowns<br />Accreditation program which involves demonstrating some business and management knowledge.<br />The notion of management functions is equally true for TC, but we have not begun to address the problem like the PR industry.<br />
    8. 8. Think like a Manager<br />Strategically<br />Understand the company’s business model<br />Consider cost vs. profit centers<br />Assessment and ROI<br />How does a decision impact the customer?<br />Differentiation and Competitive Advantage<br />
    9. 9. Learning to Think Strategically<br />Ability to plan for unforeseen events and climates<br />Take into account the consequences of more than just your department<br />Recognize and accommodate trends in the industry<br />Seek to maximize profit while minimizing cost<br />Long-term ethical implications<br />Competitive advantage only comes from being different<br />Often proactive instead of reactive<br />
    10. 10. Steps to Management<br />Assess what you manage and communicate it<br />Use Subject Matter expertise to your advantage<br />Build a business case for TC being a profit center, not a cost center<br />Position yourself as a manager<br />Think strategically, not tactically<br />Expand (internally) the idea of a “manager”<br />
    11. 11. Manager Assessment <br />Ask yourself, “what do I manage”<br />Develop a list which might include projects, knowledge, and content<br />Assess your relationship with other departments<br />Extend the exposure that other departments can provide via committees, audits, projects, or other interaction<br />
    12. 12. Develop /Leverage PM skills<br />Project Management (PM) provides a great platform to develop management skills.<br />Use PM skills to demonstrate value<br />Combine PM and PM platform knowledge for collaborative projects<br />Increase your awareness in the organization<br />Use PM to reach out to other departments<br />
    13. 13. Tactics<br />Manager of Collaboration<br />Manager of Users<br />Manager of Business Technology<br />Knowledge Manager<br />Training Manager<br />Content Manager<br />
    14. 14. Manager of Collaboration<br />Use your collaboration experience and knowledge of collaboration tools to position yourself as a manager or facilitator of company-wide collaboration.<br />Leverage platform knowledge for other departments (MOSS, CM, Blogs, etc)<br />Leverage your cultural knowledge of collaboration & team building<br />Become a Communities of Practice coordinator<br />Employ your international knowledge for improved collaboration between different cultures<br />
    15. 15. GET STARTED with Collaboration<br />Write a short case study or article for an internal publication that provides tips on teams, collaboration, and include an offer to help.<br />
    16. 16. Manager of Users<br />Leverage your understanding of users, both internal and external, into a role as manager of users<br />Separate the user experience from IT<br />Use time-tested TC research methods to compile information on users<br />Demonstrate a grasp of inexpensive research methods like focus groups, usability tests, and surveys can yield benefits<br />Employ technology platforms like blogs and wikis to improve customer feedback<br />Demonstrate how internal user productivity is a big ROI<br />Use personas, UCD, and usability to connect to your customers<br />
    17. 17. GET STARTED with Users<br />Choose internal or external users. Show the responsible department how you can add value with inexpensive research methods.<br />
    18. 18. Business Technology Manager<br />Use your understanding of technology and business operations to manage the recommendation, review, and implementation of business technology.<br />Work with IT Services to focus on integration of IT and business needs<br />Build a culture of translation – develop the process by which operations translates needs into documents which IT can act upon<br />Demonstrate your project skills, esp. project management<br /> Make the case that these user-centered functions fall under TC with support from IT Services.<br />Manage how new software and technologies affect the business function<br />Practitioners often manage usability, information design, digital media, html/xml, RoboHelp, and other technological functions<br />
    19. 19. GET STARTED with BizTech<br />Pitch a role to IT services and show how it will allow IT to be more responsive to requests and users.<br />
    20. 20. Knowledge Manager<br />Position yourself as the manager of knowledge for the company by demonstrating proficiency in the three parts of the business success triangle: information, people, and IT.<br />Use information literacy skills to determine which information is most valuable<br />Get involved in the search function<br />Leverage your taxonomy skills to deliver a KM plan<br />Show the ROI value of collaborative KM technologies<br />Provide strategies to capture tacit knowledge<br />
    21. 21. GET STARTED with KM<br />Start a cross-functional KM committee.<br />
    22. 22. Training Manager<br />Position yourself as a manager who can develop curriculum, educational technologies, and offer software training for employees. <br />Technical Communicators interface with SMEs from science and engineering disciplines without realizing that we are SMEs. <br />We know communication channels, audience, organizational communications and writing. According to many companies, these are the areas where new hires are deficient.<br />Positioning ourselves as SMEs and trainers in communication can gain us equal footing with other management disciplines.<br />
    23. 23. Training<br />Offer assistance, as time permits, to departments that need technology training<br />Build training curriculums for departments<br />Show how trained employees are more productive<br />Promote your an Subject Matter Expert (SME) skills like PM, Writing, Usability, etc.<br />Collaborate with Training or HR – use caution<br />
    24. 24. GET STARTED with Training<br />Take advantage of budget cuts/downsizing. Create a proposal to train employees in areas that were subject to budget reductions. <br />
    25. 25. Content Manager<br />Position yourself as the manager of all disseminated content (web and other channels).<br />Integrate the function of content management<br />Develop a comprehensive plan using the support of departments (e.g. Legal) with which you have a close relationship<br />Provide solutions for cataloging, searching, and storing content for all departments<br />Show how the delivery of inconsistent communication, both internally and externally, wastes money<br />
    26. 26. GET STARTED with CM<br />Work with a committee to push for a communications audit. This will determine what information (and how) the company disseminates. Eliminating redundancy, especially in print, will reduce company costs.<br />
    27. 27. The IT Example<br />IT, as a discipline, it often more open to management of “non-living” things.<br />IT has managers for networks, servers, and Databases.<br />As a discipline, IT is more understanding of information as a management function. Use this to your advantage in career choices or alliances.<br />
    28. 28. Worst Case Scenario<br />You are seen as a facilitator, not manager<br />You have proven your value to the company<br />You met new people in the organization through collaboration<br />You have encroached on others turf<br />You created more work for yourself (!)<br />
    29. 29. II. Positioning the Field for Management<br />
    30. 30. Educate managers and future managers need to think strategically…<br />
    31. 31. What do we know?<br />What we have to offer – audience.<br />Companies struggle to identify, segment, and craft messages to audiences<br />We control and command many of the methodologies that lead to effective audience research: ethnography, usability, surveys and focus groups, Rhetorical analysis, and quasi-experimentation<br />TC needs to take audience knowledge and demonstrate how our research and analysis adds value to the organization<br />
    32. 32. Make the business case for TC<br />Students entering industry need to understand industry<br />Technical Communicators should understand how budgets, profit, and competitive advantage affect decisions<br />Effectiveness, efficiency and the management of resources to achieve business objectives are critical to understanding how TC fits into business<br />
    33. 33. Collaborate on Research <br />Most of our research is either tool based or theory based<br />Tool and theory research are valuable<br />We need to add management as a perspective for research<br />Management can serve as a bridge between academe and industry<br />
    34. 34. Education<br />Another shortcoming in the management positioning for TC is our education. <br />Contrast the differences between textbooks in PR to those in Technical Communication.:<br />Both sets of textbooks cover similar aspects of their respective fields: ethics, history, practice, tools, and tactics. However, a clear difference emerges. Most PR textbooks incorporate a strategic management perspective for student learning while TC textbooks take a genre and artifact approach.<br /> The implicit message in TC textbooks is clear – Technical Communication is a task oriented activity centered solely on the production of communication artifacts.<br />
    35. 35. Management Research is Ok<br />Management research is ok for the Humanists!<br />Researchers from all types of disciplines research the impact of power, gender, and groups on management. <br />Often, the most valuable results come from alternative or critical approaches to the power that management can create or subdue.<br /> As a field, we should acknowledge the theoretical structures of power, gender, and knowledge through the managerial perspective and not see the word management as synonymous only with “Corporation”.<br />
    36. 36. Conclusion<br />TC is not viewed as a management field or function<br />Positioning yourself as a manage will demonstrate your value to the organization<br />Assess what you manage and what you would like to manage<br />Think strategically <br />Become comfortable with ROI, assessment, effectiveness collaboration, and PM<br /> More managers from a TC background will mean a higher status for TC practitioners<br />When the overlap between education, research, and practice is oriented towards management, we can begin to unify our discipline to demonstrate our value throughout the spectrum of society<br />
    37. 37. Collective Resources<br />STC Management SIG: http://www.stcsig.org/mgt<br />Send me some of your best management resources via the chat feature and I’ll post them…<br />
    38. 38. Questions ?<br />Joel A. Kline<br />jkline@lvc.edu<br />joelkline.com<br />
    39. 39. Work Cited<br />Grunig, J. (1992). Excellence in Public Relations and Communication Management. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. New Jersey.<br /> <br />Lages, C. and Lages, F. (2005). Antecedents of managerial public relations: a structural model examination. European Journal of Marketing. v39 iss.1/2. p 110 – 128.<br />Molisani, J. and Graham, B. (2008) How to Build a Business Case. InterCom. July/August. p 5-8.<br />Haag, S., Baltzan, & Phillips, A. (2008). Business Driven Technology (3rd ed). New York: McGraw-Hill .<br /> <br />

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