Prashanth Augustine, Bsc, IBM-Team Lead
Prashanth Augustine completed the TWB Associate Certification Program in September 2006. He completed his graduation in Biological Sciences and worked in Biocon India Ltd. as a Microbiologist. Post TWB he joined IBM and is leading a team. Following is an excerpt of a chat, team TWB had with Prashanth.
According to you, what is the biggest challenge of working in a team?
Working in a team can be an exhilarating experience or a nightmare depending on inter-personal skills of the team members, including you. One of the biggest challenges in working with virtual teams is coordination across different geographies and effective communication. The latter is chiefly due to cultural barriers, writing skills and accent related issues.
What are the different kinds of documents that you worked with so far?
I have worked on User Guides, Process Documents and Case Studies
Have you ever had to learn a new tool while working on a project?
I have learnt the following tools:
How successful are you in bridging the gap between technology and the end-user?
Highly successful, since I experiment with the tool/application and then present it to the end-user. A Technical Writer has to master the tool before creating a good User Guide.
Describe your typical day at office.
Typical day at office begins with work allocation, responding to queries on the tools, process, research new tools. Apart from this, preparing various Resource Utilization Documents, Metrics and Weekly Status Reports for the different projects under my supervision
How do you respond to negative feedback on your documents?
I implement the constructive feedback provided to me and it automatically becomes a learning activity for me.
Do you agree that Technical Writing has got to do with understanding and implementing the fundamentals of writing than learning tools? State your reasons if you agree or disagree?
These two activities are like synonyms, A Technical Writer is supposed to have good writing skills. If the writer does not master a Tool or Application, the document fails the purpose of providing quality assistance to the end user.
What was the toughest deadline that you have had to meet? How did you manage it?
The toughest deadline was to prepare a user guide and a process manual in a short span of 3 months. The application was new in the organization and the entire process documents had to be modified around the new application. This was managed by understanding the tool by having regular meetings with the development, requirements and testing team. Needless to say, hard work and extended work hours.
What were the challenges you faced when you started your career as a Technical Writer?
The challenges I faced as a Technical Writer was to implement my creativity, ideas and modify an existing template.