Today’s IT industries are navigating a major change: Cloud technologies are making it easier than ever to provide software, platform, and infrastructure as a service. The focus of one global IT organization is helping customers adapt to this change. As an industry leader, this company must lead customers through the transformation of operations with innovative products and specialized services that allow customers to store, manage, protect, and analyze data in a fluid and cost-effective manner.
For Brian McGovern, a technical manager for North and Latin America, communicating the supportability, reliability, and sustainability of these new technologies is a major focus. McGovern is responsible for working with field-based customer-service teams to address concerns that might affect productivity. Accurate, effective written communications and technical documents are necessary. “Clear writing is critical,” says McGovern. “It’s a representation of not only the individual, but the corporation as well. [Our customers] reference and internally share the documents that we present. If the communication isn’t clear, then we invest additional time meeting and communicating the same message repeatedly.” With such a broad theater of operations, consistency and accuracy in written documents was the biggest challenge for McGovern’
s team. He notes that past writing training courses failed to meet expectations because they weren’t able to address the company’s true concerns. Specifically, the company must produce successful root cause analysis reports. The IT company’s team needed more than a basic technical writing course: they needed a program that was tailored to their company and integrated with their current strategies.
Hurley Write, Inc., a certified women-owned business, develops and teaches business, technical, and scientific writing courses for companies with highly specialized needs. “Hurley Write’s understanding of what we needed to accomplish, and the company’s experience providing similar training to many other companies, made it a very easy decision to bring Hurley Write on board,” says McGovern.
After contacting key people in McGovern’s company to identify their exact concerns and needs, Pam Hurley, Ph.D., of Hurley Write developed a custom technical writing course, Writing Effective Root Cause Analysis Reports. Because of Hurley Write’s extensive analysis of company procedures, the course materials were relevant and company-specific. Technical document samples from McGovern’s team were used to develop a baseline for the training sessions. The entire course was integrated into the IT company’s existing curriculum to standardize the creation of successful root cause analysis reports and strengthen the team’s writing abilities.
“Writing is a personal thing,” notes McGovern. “But there are rules and standards that need to be adhered to, ensuring that your intended message is clearly delivered. Pam does an excellent job of conveying the baseline information and then honing in on the necessary areas for improvement. She has the ability to do that because she has examples of the attendees’ writing, and she’s prepared.” He continues, “The class is high-energy and very interactive. Having Pam provide the training makes a world of difference; she is very attentive and works to ensure that each participant understands the point and lesson she is providing.”
McGovern is happy with what he and his team have learned from the Hurley Write course. In fact, the course was so successful that the company has incorporated it into its curriculum. After taking the course, McGovern approaches his work differently. “Knowing that most people skim [documents] and don’t read every word or every line has helped me think about the way I communicate my messages,” he says. “Using fewer, smaller words allows me to be very direct in my communications. Now, my written communications are more concise.” McGovern also appreciates the writing development skills he’s learned from Hurley Write: “One of the most valuable skills I learned is the ability to free-form write: Getting all of my ideas in front of me, and then developing a clearly designed message. Formatting the communication to meet the style of the audience is another skill.” His team uses the skills they’ve learned daily. “The specialists who have completed the training are responsible for developing root cause analysis documents and completing peer-to-peer reviews, ensuring that everyone is continuing to use the skills. I am using them as well; keeping them in mind helps me provide clear, concise, and purposeful communications.”