Name With The Face: Roy Jacobsen
Job Title: Senior Technical Writer
Organization: Protech Associates, Inc.
Job Function: Roy Jacobsen is the lone technical writer at Protech, which produces enterprise CRM solutions for member-based organizations. He is responsible for online and print documentation for Protech’s flagship product, CRM for Members, as well as for online documentation for a sample report library, the product’s web interface, and other projects. "I rely on the project managers, developers, and testers to give me the basic information about the product’s features; my job is to translate their knowledge and expertise into the information that our customers need to get their jobs done," says Jacobsen.
He also participates in other projects, such as editing white papers published on sites like Microsoft Developer Network (www.msdn.com), or providing some of the "hard" content for marketing material. Jacobsen says, "A couple of my current projects involve helping set up and document a SharePoint site for our Protech Users Group, and launching a usability testing program for our application and our online content."
In A Day’s Work: Jacobsen’s day varies, depending on where a project is in the cycle. "Towards the end of a major release, I’m trying to ensure that all of the content for all of the new features has been revised, reviewed, and integrated into the whole package, along with taking care of bug fixes—in both the application and documentation." Thus, he divides his time between managing the content, tracking unresolved issues, and working with the SMEs to resolve those issues. Other times, says Jacobsen, "I actually have the luxury to look for ways to improve our content or workflow."
Most Memorable Customer Encounter: "We implemented a system to allow customers to enter feedback directly in our web-based documentation. A customer posted a comment about not being able to find the specific information she was looking for, and I exchanged a few emails and held a conference call with her team to explain the changes we planned for the next release. She emailed my boss, about how much she appreciated the experience. It was nice to get some fan mail!"
View From The Desk: "Directly in front of my desk is a window to our office’s common area. I posted a couple of quotations on the wall to my left, including: ‘The difference between a madman and a professional is that a pro does as well as he can within what he has set out to do, and a madman does exceptionally well at what he can’t help doing,’ by poet Charles Bukowski."
Outside Interest: "Camping with my family and reading, and I blog about writing at rmjacobsen.squarespace.com."
If Not Econtent, Then What?: "Public speaking. No, I’m not kidding."