By Sarah Baca
Orlando Chapter STC
The May meeting of the Orlando Central Florida chapter included an honor to Melissa Pellegrin as well as an entertaining and informative presentation by Helen Tipton, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM.
Two Melissa Pellegrin scholarships were awarded this year. The recipients of the 2013 scholarships are Cory Bullinger and Candace Du Lac. Both of these students have demonstrated the excellence in Technical Communication that has been commemorated for years in honor of Melissa Pellegrin. We are excited to see the future these students will enjoy as they further the memory of Melissa Pellegrin.
Helen spoke about how technical communicators can work with project managers to create excellence within their companies.
Helen first explained what project managers do: they coordinate, remove obstacles, and facilitate communication. Helen made it clear that there is a natural synergy between technical documentation and project management because of the nature of our work.
Technical writers who work closely with project managers can ensure that proper documentation occurs through every phase of the project. A project manager who works closely with the technical writers on her team can ensure that they have everything they need to write world-class documentation.
Helen explained that project managers define many project parameters, such as:
· The concept or scope of the work
· The benefits, cost, and ROI (return on investment)
· The resource planning for a project
She challenged us to ask, “What’s the cost of not doing it?” and to evaluate the PM triangle. When given the choice of price, speed, or quality you can only have two of the three things that you want. For example, you can have the project done quickly at high quality, but the price will be high. You can have the project at a low price and quickly, but the quality will be low.
The project constraints triangle shows that as quality increases so do scope, cost, and time. Helen briefly described how these factors work together for any project.
Everyone who attended the meeting left with a deeper understanding of what project managers do and how we, as technical communicators, can work together to bring excellence to any enterprise.