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Re: Desiging your Documentation/Writing Department
Subject:Re: Desiging your Documentation/Writing Department From:Al Geist <al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com> To:TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com> Date:Wed, 09 Aug 2006 15:24:15 -0400
Being recently relieved of all my contractual obligations with
IBM-Burlington (along with 400 other contractors), I look at designing a
documenation/writing department different than most of what I've read here.
I would go for as much of a virtual office as possible. Vermont has a
directive to connect 100 percent of the state to the Internet via broad band
by the end of the year, and they're pretty close to doing it. This is
happening all across the country. When I lived in Alaska, a significant
portion of the population had beyond dial-up Internet access, so it can be
assumed that this is happening all across North America. For a long time,
companies searched close to home for qualified writers, or asked them to
relocate if they were hired. Yet, more and more companies are allowing some
form of telecommuting. In my redesigned department, telecommuting would be
the rule and not the exception. The only resident workers would be those
who put the actual print matter together (if the project is to develop
printed matter), translators and the people who make the coffee in the
morning...er wait, that's me.
Keith Hood wrote:
Structuring the group is of course very important;
others on this list have written good advice on that.
But, you also have to consider the interfaces. Of high
importance is to connect the group to the rest of the
company at the highest level possible. In a perfect
world, the person in charge of the documentation group
has the position to go into planning meetings and
compete for budget and hiring allocations and other
resources. If the head of the documentation group
reports to the Deputy Assistant Manager of Something,
it will never be able to get the means necessary to
expand in the future. Also, if the documentation group
is too low on the food chain, there would be too many
bosses who could place demands on the group, which
could make it difficult to maintain standards, meet
schedules, or assign tasks efficiently.
Senior (only) tech writer
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