Here’s our new mission statement.
Few sentences are more likely to send a professional community into full-on rewrite mode, sharpening their red pencils, adding a nip here and a tuck there. All the more so when the members of the community are technical writers.
Sarah Maddox just proposed a mission statement for technical writers, and it’s a good one:
Make complex goals achievable within our customer’s context
It’s good because it’s direct and it provides a vision of what we’re all about. It’s good because the word customer reminds us that we’re engaged in a business and the customer (paying or prospective) is paramount. It’s good because there’s no bafflegab like charging paradigms or maximizing synergies.
Still… Here comes my red pencil. Why only complex goals? What about simple goals like running my lawnmower or creating form fields in Word?
I also think we’re about broadening our customers’ context rather than fitting things within that context. But that might be splitting hairs. (You’ll have to read Sarah’s post to appreciate why she chose the word context. She explains it much better than I could.)
I recently compared technical writers to the Library of Congress, and in passing I mentioned something that sounds like a mission statement: We technical communicators are in the business of making knowledge available to people who need it.
A nip here and a tuck there, being sure to include something that differentiates us from librarians and content curators, and I get this:
Our business is creating knowledge and making it available to people who need it.
What do you think? I want to be able to incorporate Sarah’s notion of context, but I don’t know how. Or maybe Sarah’s mission statement – with a nip or a tuck or perhaps with no changes at all – captures the essence of what we technical writers do.
Tell me what you think in the comments, either here or on Sarah’s blog.