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Setting Goals & Objectives in Technical Writing

by Ian Linton

Technical writers create technical documentation for companies in information technology, architecture, engineering, medicine and scientific research. Some technical writers work as full-time employees for companies with extensive documentation requirements, and others are self-employed, creating documentation for clients on an ad-hoc or contract basis. When setting goals and objectives, technical writers should take both a personal and a business perspective.

Personal Career Goals

To progress in their careers, technical writers should set clear goals. Important goals for writers working in companies are to work on more complex projects or to achieve management positions where they lead or train junior staff, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A technical writer may, for example, aim to become the senior writer or team leader on a complete documentation program for a new product. Freelance technical writers may set business development goals, such as winning long-term contracts with manufacturers that require regular updating of product manuals or operating guides.

Personal Development Goals

Closely linked to career goals are personal development goals. By improving their personal and professional skills and qualifications, technical writers can advance their careers or win larger writing contracts. Writers may set a development goal such as obtaining certification through an organization like the Society for Technical Communication, which offers online courses.

Writing Improvement Objectives

To develop quality documentation, technical writers should set objectives that will improve the clarity, conciseness and accuracy of their work, according to the publisher Pearson Prentice Hall. By improving clarity, for example, writers can achieve the goal of making their documents easier to understand. They may be working on instruction manuals for a new product. Clear instructions help customers use the product effectively and meet the manufacturer's business objective of maximizing customer satisfaction or reducing the volume of product-support requests. Writing more concisely can also help them achieve productivity objectives, such as completing documents in shorter time frames.

Project Goals and Milestones

Technical writers can also set goals within individual projects. To make progress on projects effectively, writers set goals and time frames for each stage. An important goal might be to complete the first draft of a manual within six weeks or to complete a full set of instructions for a new product range within nine months.

About the Author

Based in the United Kingdom, Ian Linton has been a professional writer since 1990. His articles on marketing, technology and distance running have appeared in magazines such as “Marketing” and “Runner's World.” Linton has also authored more than 20 published books and is a copywriter for global companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and economics from Bristol University.

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