Re: The Old Argument: FrameMaker vs. MS Word

Subject: Re: The Old Argument: FrameMaker vs. MS Word
From: "Mark Baker" <mbaker -at- omnimark -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 10:35:20 -0500

Tony Rocco wrote


> Sorry, Mark, but I beg to differ. You're idea of what a tech writer is in
> this day and age is narrow and unrealistic, least in the software
> development world. I have been in this business for most of a decade and
my
> jobs have never been pure writing jobs (and that's OK with me).

I wasn't saying that most companies don't demand that writers also be layout
artists. They clearly do. I was saying it is a bad thing and that they
should stop doing it.

Technical writing is very hard. It requires a high degree of mastery in two
difficult areas, technology and writing. To add any more burden than that is
to ensure poor quality results in every aspect of the job. No human being
can be really good at that many different things at once.

And then there is the time factor. Good technical writers are hard to find.
If they spend 60% of their time on layout and production related jobs, you
need more than twice as many writers to complete a project.

What is the proper way to staff a department of (for example, five people)?

The usual scenario today is five writers doing all their own DTP and peer
editing. DTP skill is a key hiring requirement. The result is low
productivity, poor results, burnout and general dissatisfaction.

The proper way is three writers, one editor, and one desktop publisher or
one text programmer. The criteria for hiring writers is writing skill and
technical knowledge. The result is high productivity, good results, and
enhanced job satisfaction.


---
Mark Baker
Senior Technical Communicator
OmniMark Technologies Corporation
1400 Blair Place
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada, K1J 9B8
Phone: 613-745-4242
Fax: 613-745-5560
Email mbaker -at- omnimark -dot- com
Web: http://www.omnimark.com






References:
RE: The Old Argument: FrameMaker vs. MS Word: From: Tony Rocco

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