Albert Zuurbier is a Software Developer and Business Analyst with more than 15 years of experience in the software industry. Writing is the basis in all the functions Albert occupied. Well written documentation, whether it is a process manual or a requirements document is the basis of understanding of the reader. Perfection is the driving force throughout his career. Each part of his experience brought new depth. Let's find out how his experience can help you.
Process Manuals and Layout
Albert's career really took off with the maintenance of process manuals in the aircraft industry. Describing the various aspects of how to properly install permanent fasteners, a wide and important subject area in aircraft manufacturing, the importance of a fixed layout for similar process descriptions became clear. Not only are the various manuals read by engineers that install various fasteners, also maintenance is made easier.
The users of a document are important for the layout of the document. What do the users expect in a manual? They want to find the information they need for performing their job quickly. Hence, the information should be structured according to the flow of their job. And since these engineers read various process descriptions of a subject area, they want to find their information at exactly the same spot in every manual.
The process manual must thus have a fixed layout and every manual in the same subject area must have the same layout. Each subject area has its own requirements and thus each subject area will likely have its own layout. The same layout in turn makes maintenance easier, users know how to explain the location of their comments and the writer quickly knows about what the user complains. Focused changes are possible.
Trainings and Systematic Documentation Processes
Albert's career took a turn into writing trainings. The process industry for which he wrote the trainings has a high demand on training as processes in each industry and company are highly different. The tasks executed in the process industry invariably involve machines and strict requirements about safety. The trainings must reflect this and thus a systematic documentation process is required.
A training must be created from a deep understanding of the user's job, what the purpose is and what the order of tasks is. Whether this job is highly regulated such as a process engineer or less regulated such as a cashier, rules apply. The next step is to determine how the rules apply to the job. By the end of the training, the trainee must thoroughly understand job tasks, rules and expectation. The trainee's understanding must be checked regularly throughout the training.
User Manuals and Documentation Tools
With past experience, the change from developing trainings to writing software manuals was a logical next step. Every software program must be accompanied by a user manual. Users should not be left experimenting with the software, not only to make sure the software does what it is supposed to do, but also to avoid user frustration. User manuals must help create user appreciation of the software. For this purpose documentation tools are available, tools to create the content and tools to create the physical documentation. Again, it all depends on the job and tasks of the user.
Documentation is often created with MS-Word, illustrated with screen dumps and published on paper. However, MS-Word is not the only and sometimes not the best tool. For each part of the document – the text, the supporting artwork and the publishing format – there is a large number of alternatives. One alternative may fit better in the user's job, than another. Publishing the documentation in alternative formats is for many jobs a requirement. MS-Word may not always be flexible enough to support the required formats. Albert worked with many alternatives.
Design Documents and Process Improvement
Albert caused his next career move by providing numerous suggestions for the software design while writing the user manuals. The move from writer to designer is not uncommon. A technical writer puts him or herself daily in the situation of the user while the software is developed; a designer must put him or herself daily in the situation of the user before the software is developed. As the software he worked is used in various industries and even more various companies, Albert gained broad understanding of jobs and tasks in many industries and companies.
As designer in software industry, Albert's work consisted for a large part of documenting processes. Then out of these descriptions he derived the requirement for the software and used the requirements for the design of new functionality. The design of software is not merely a design, but also an opportunity for process improvement. Albert Zuurbier was trained as Six Sigma Black Belt, a methodology for process improvement. Albert applies his knowledge of documenting processes, Six Sigma and Lean process improvement in everything documentation process he takes on.
Next to design and architecture work, Albert quickly picked up software languages. First to be able to communicate with software developers in their own jargon, over time he started to develop more software himself.
Applying his ITIL knowledge and process knowledge to the local government organization, he currently works on a complaint system. In this system the latest technologies are applied in a maintainable and attractive intranet application. Albert also updated the Administrative Citation System. The system is now more secure and stable.
In personal life Albert develops software in a several different languages.
Life and Strategy
Albert is a also a thinker. He writes articles for web sites and has created Newsletters for non-profit groups he is affiliated with.
His thinking focuses on strategy. It started with a fascination for war games and the strategy behind the war games. After reading on the subject and thinking about it, Albert also found that strategy can be applied to daily life. From his study of strategy, he developed his own method of developing and documenting strategy.
Experience and You
Albert Zuurbier is ready to make his experience work for you. To learn more about Albert's experience and ho this can work for you, contact Albert.