Project Management and the Technical Communicator

Presented by Liz Herman


There is a strong connection between the project manager and the technical communicator. The skills that we refine over time as technical communicators have a critical place in project management: communicating content, identifying audience needs, extracting knowledge from subject matter experts, and ensuring quality deliverables. Many technical communicators can step into a project manager role using these highly transferable, existing skills.

What are the transferable skills? How can you work toward a broader role in your organization? What is project management? Why is project management important to the technical communicator? Project Management and the Technical Communicator helps you explore your existing skill set, shows you the applicability to project management, and provides you with best practices that complement both roles.

This online course enhances your understanding of project management and prepares you to step up successfully for project management assignments and roles in your career. Formal presentations with key takeaways will be complemented by interactive discussions leveraging your existing knowledge and experiences.

Session Descriptions

Session 1: What Is Project Management and What Does It Have to Do with Technical Communicators? 

In this session, you will learn:

  • Definition of project management and what it means in context of technical communicators and this certificate course
  • Overview of project management and technical communication synergies and skill overlap

Be prepared to share the synergies you see between technical writing and project management, your own experiences with project management, and the key takeaway you’d like from the course.

Session 2: Building the Project Management Framework: Communication 

In this session, you will learn:

  • How to be the voice of the project
  • How to identify stakeholders, owners, implementers, and evaluators
  • Communication best practices
  • Putting your existing people skills to work

Be prepared to share an example of organizational communication (good or bad).

Building the Project Management Framework: Organization 

In this session, you will learn the importance of:

  • Project charters
  • Schedules
  • Touch-base meetings

You will also learn about how to allocate resources and how to initiate project work. Be prepared to talk about tools that can be used to facilitate the organization of a project.

Building the Project Management Framework: Implementation

In this session, you will learn:

  • How to status project management work
  • How to fulfill duties of a project manager (reminder of expected roles and responsibilities)
  • Triple constraint (cost, scope, schedule)

Be prepared to talk about how project management roles and responsibilities align with technical communicator roles and responsibilities. There will be some advance work assigned to help you understand the triple constraint before this session.

Building the Project Management Framework: Evaluation

In this session, you will learn:

  • Why it is important to evaluate the inputs and the outputs
  • When to escalate issues
  • How to communicate issues

Be prepared to role play some different communication scenarios.

Building the Project Management Framework: A Sample Project 

In this session, we will combine all of our learning from previous sessions and apply the framework to a sample project. This will, once again, be an interactive session where you will provide input into the sample project related to communication, organization, implementation, and evaluation.

Presenter Biography

Liz Herman, PhD, PMP, CPTC, is a communications leader with 20 years of project management and technical communication experience. She has worked extensively in the healthcare industry as a policy expert and prides herself on being able to transform complex knowledge into accessible, understandable, bite-sized pieces of business intelligence that drive performance.  She a long-time advocate of technical communication as a career path and received her Certified Professional Technical Communicator designation in February 2014.

Liz currently directs project management and business development activities in Battelle’s health and analytics business unit in the Washington, DC, metro area. Liz is originally from Dubuque, IA. She earned a bachelors degree with honors in journalism and mass communication from the University of Iowa. She went on to complete a masters degree in English (rhetoric, composition, and professional communication) from Iowa State University and a doctor of philosophy degree in applied management and decision sciences (knowledge management) from Walden University.