Re: multiple TWs for a project

Subject: Re: multiple TWs for a project
From: Jo Francis Byrd <jbyrd -at- byrdwrites -dot- com>
To: gyaker -at- csc -dot- com
Date: Wed, 09 Feb 2000 16:58:41 -0600

Several years back I was part of a multi-author wasn't fun, not because
we couldn't get along, we did, by and large, but because there was NO time allowed
for planning. More than once we decided on a style, a convention, on the fly. Two
months into the project, of course, the lack of time spent in planning reared up its
ugly head and bit us big time in the you-know-where. For a good month we walked
around with huge chunks bitten out of our behinds while we did damage control.
Needless to say, what consistency existed, existed by and large within that part
which each of us did (I wasn't sorry when that contract ended. Our manager, who was
NOT a tech writer, was a total idiot. An extremely well educated idiot, she had a
Ph.D., but an absolute idiot).

Ideally, we should have been able to sit down and PLAN the blasted thing. Decide on
conventions, styles, etc., up front. We needed one of us to be editor, to smooth out
the inevitable differences in writing style to make the help system appear as one
voice rather than multiple voices. Given the luxury, that is the path I would
pursue: sit down first, plan out how you want to approach the task, decide on
conventions and styles, assign one of the team to do the editing (if you don't have
one. Such luxury, to have an editor to find your piddlely mistakes!).


Jo Byrd

gyaker -at- csc -dot- com wrote in part:

> What's it like working on a team of tech writers? Lets say 1, A small team of 3-5
> and 2, a larger team like the type that would work on a highly formalized
> project.
> I ask this because most of my TWing experience has been me in the position as the
> lone TW for a project or task. It's hard for me to see that teams can create
> documentation with any real consistency. I did work on a 3 month project with
> another TW and found myself butting heads with her on a few occasions. And
> regardless of who was right, it seemed nearly impossible to keep all of our work
> perfectly consistent given such a short time frame.
> There's one other point I'd like to touch on. A few of the list members have shown
> (daily) their strong opinions on a single 'right' way of doing things. In the same
> spirit, I'm kind of hard-headed in so much as sentence A can clearly be
> better than sentence B, and to this I would fight to the end. Are people like
> this a detriment to a team of tech writers, especially if they are not in the Sr.
> position?

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