Technical Communication Manager


Saul Carliner


Online Courses

Technical Communication Manager

8 November-13 December 2016 (Tuesdays) | Noon – 1:30 PM EST (GMT -5)

Effectively managing a technical communication group involves a unique set of skills: clearly communicating expectations regarding jobs, effectively evaluating performance, establishing a vision for your group, making a business case for proposed projects, and selling the services of your group.

This certificate program develops these skills through a combination of discovery exercises (which leverage your existing knowledge), formal presentations (which describe the “must knows”) and action planning segments, which give you a chance to consider how you’ll apply what you learned back on the job.

You’ll Learn How to:

  • Manage the performance planning and evaluation process, in which you plan for and communicate your expectations regarding specific jobs and evaluate the extent to which workers have achieved them
  • Motivate your workers
  • Develop a strategic plan for your group
  • Prepare a business case for proposed projects
  • Market services to skeptical internal “customers” (or sponsors)

Intended audiences:

  • Technical communicators who have management responsibilities in their jobs.
  • Technical communicators who are preparing for leadership roles in their organizations as managers, content strategists, project managers, or similar roles with high visibility.

Relevance to STC members: Develops the core skills needed in the leadership positions that technical communicators assume—and does so in a way that’s unique to technical communicators (not other professions).

Session Descriptions

Using interactive exercises, mini case studies, readings (performed between the first and second sessions), and online presentations, learn how to establish clear expectations with workers by first clarifying your own expectations regarding a particular position, conducting an effective job search, and writing an effective performance plan (this last topic might be finished in the next session).

This session completes the unit on effective performance. Once again, using interactive exercises, mini case studies, readings (performed between class sessions), and online presentations, learn how to provide interim coaching on performance, prepare and present a performance appraisal, and advise workers on career-related issues.

Through an interactive discussion and debriefing based on a case study and readings prepared before class, this session explores the role of a strategic plan in the long-term health of a technical communication group, and explains how to prepare one.

After distinguishing a business case from strategic plans and other planning processes, this session describes the four parts of a strategic plan and how to prepare each. Readings about business cases and of a sample business case before class prepares participants for this discussion.

Continuing the conversation from the previous session, this session concludes the exploration of how to prepare a business case. In this session, the discussion of the four parts of a business case continues, along with a discussion of return–on–investment, and the debriefing of an assignment in which participants prepare a business case.

After debriefing a pre-class assignment, this session explains the role of marketing for internal technical communication groups, presents some general strategies for marketing, and suggests a number of specific tactics for promoting a technical communication group.


Saul Carliner, PhD, CTDP is a Professor at Concordia University in Montreal, where his work focuses on the design of materials for communication and learning in the workplace, and the management of groups that produce these materials. Also an industry consultant, he provides strategic advice to clients such as AT&T, Lowe's, PwC, ST Microelectronics, Turkish Management Centre, and several US and Canadian government agencies. He is author of the best-selling and award-winning instructional design texts Training Design Basics, Advanced Web-Based Training (with Margaret Driscoll), and several articles on management that have received recognition in the Frank R. Smith Outstanding Article Competition. He has received the Kenneth Rainey Award for Excellence in Research in Technical Communication and Jay Gould Award for Excellence in Teaching Technical Communication. He is Research Director for Training magazine, Chair of the Certification Advisory Committee for the Institute for Performance and Learning, Manager of the Intercom Advisory Committee, and a Fellow and past international president of STC.

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