Subject: WRITING LAB (fwd)
From: "David E. Damouth" <damouth -at- wrc -dot- xerox -dot- com>
From: Elna -dot- Tymes -at- SYNTEX -dot- COM
To: Kat Nagel <katnagel -at- aol -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 1994 19:14:00 PST
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 1994 10:54:15 PDT

In article <199411100809 -dot- AA070214970 -at- relay2 -dot- geis -dot- com>,
<m -dot- smith182 -at- genie -dot- geis -dot- com> writes:

> To be honest, I did back up my productivity guestimates now and again by
> very carefully counting each page and the level of effort for each page.
> That way I could check and see how well I had estimated the work. For the
> record, I was pretty close, but the page counts usually were higher than the
> guestimate.

> My boss was ignorant of my methods, but happy with the result.

In what I regard as the "purest" of tech writing environments, that of writing
books from a standing start at home for book publishers located elsewhere in
the country, I could demonstrate that, so long as the parameters didn't change
midstream, I could produce a 300 page book in two months. This was something
I could demonstrate over the course of having written or coauthored 31 books
for publishers like Bantam, Sybex, etc. The problem with using that as a
benchmark is that, these days, there's no "pure" writing environment, not even
with publishers. The biggest problems is those-who-review changing their
minds midstream as to audience, scope, approach, or something else that's
basic. And writing to a moving target like that is naturally going to make
the task tougher for those-who-write, although those-who-review aren't likely
to factor that in when they're doing productivity measurements.

I still believe that the two greatest problems with productivity measures are
reflected in two of my tech-writer aphorisms:

1. "Write something; I'll tell you whether I like it." And of course, do it on
a fixed budget and fixed schedule. Yeah, right.

2. "Oh shit! I forgot to tell you!" I have this in initials-only format as
part of the logo on a limited-edition set of commemorative mugs I had done for
my team members after a particular difficult project. (The logo is of a
merry-go-round, with the initials RTFM forming the top and OSIFTTY as the

Elna Tymes
Los Trancos Systems

Previous by Author: Re: Bubba
Next by Author: Re: **Defining Tech Comm**
Previous by Thread: Re: What else to tech. communicators do?
Next by Thread: Re: spoken & written usag

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads