The sponsor represents the sponsor organization, the department or company that the sponsor works for. The sponsor and sponsor and the sponsor organization play these roles.
|Role||About this Role|
|Executive sponsor (executive sponsor, benefactor)||(also called the paying sponsor or benefactor: The executive with responsibility for the project. Although you will not have much contact with this person, recognize that this is the person who can authorize or stop payment for a project and who must ultimately feel satisfied with the results.
|Ombudsperson||Your primary contact in the organization of the sponsor. This is the person designated by the paying sponsor to serve as your liaison with the sponsor, and the person who identifies whom in the organization to involve in the project, introduces you to those people (ideally), assists with setting up meetings, and helps you gain access to resources, such as prototypes of new products, plans for organizational change, and access to workers and customers of the organization.
|Subject matter experts (SMEs)||One or more people who developed the technical content that will be addressed by the course or technical communication product. Table 8 below lists the typical projects for instructional designers and technical communicators working on highly technical content.Table 8: Who Is the Subject Matter Expert?
Your project may have one or more SMEs. For large software projects that involve large teams of software designers and programmers, you might deal with several SMEs. For a scientific report, you likely work directly with a single scientist.
SMEs usually focus on the completeness and accuracy of the technical content. They are concerned that your precisely report information; a misused word often raises their concern. For example, when a technical communicator wrote “This word processor has Internet access,” the SME expressed concern. The word processor can produce text that users can use as home pages on the World Wide Web on the Internet, but it does not let users use the Internet.
Although SMEs are well-versed in the technical content, they approach it from their own perspective as the one who developed the content, rather than as a user of that content. As a result, SMEs often request that you include more information than learners and users want; the additional information could easily distract learners and users from successfully completing the objective at hand. In such instances, you need to refer to the objectives of the project to determine the relevance of the additional material requested.
|Marketing||A representative of the group that has responsibility for sales of the product or service discussed in the course or technical communication product. Instructional designers and technical communicators usually work with a market planner, the person whose responsibility is identifying the needs of a market, translating those needs into requirements for a product addressed by the course or communication product, making sure that the product meets those requirements, then planning a strategy for making the public of the product or service and encouraging the public to purchase that product or service.
Marketing (as instructional designers and technical communicators usually refer to this representative of the sponsor) usually plays a role in courses and communication materials about products and services and in proposals. Because scientific reports and environment, health and safety information usually is not directly marketed, Marketing does not play a role in these projects.
Marketing is primarily concerned with the way you represent the product or service in your course or communication product. Representatives of marketing generally try to make sure that your material addresses the perceived needs of the people who will be purchasing the product or service and that the course or communication product positively reflects the product or service.
|Legal||A representative of the corporate legal department. The legal reviewer is concerned about these issues:
|Learners and Users||The people who will use and apply the content in the instructional program or communication product.Learners and users are primarily concerned with the relevance, applicability, accuracy, and usability of the content. Many users usually assess usability as:
In a real project, some sponsor representatives serve in one role, in other projects, a single sponsor representative serves several roles. The level of involvement by sponsor representatives also varies, depending on the combinations of roles they play, other responsibilities they have, and their interest in the project. Some sponsor representatives play a central role in a project; others only play a role on paper.
Continue with the next post: Project Management 5b. Instructional Design and Technical Communication Roles.
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