Working in a structured environment

Subject: Working in a structured environment
From: Eric Ray <ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com>
To: "krupp, marguerite" <krupp_marguerite -at- emc -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 11:03:30 -0700

"krupp, marguerite" wrote:
> The people who flourish in the startup environment usually
> chafe under the perceived restrictions that become necessary as the
> organization grows and matures. So they leave.
> work, you need to have at least a minimal set of procedures in place to make
> sure that the right things get done, and that they get done right.

You know, it's funny how perspectives change. If you'd told
me eight years ago that I would work in an environment in
which I
* have minimal control over the tools I use,
* have no control over the final appearance of my docs,
* have an established (and rather lengthy) production
and review process that I _must_ follow
and that I'd consider the job a step _UP_, I'd have laughed.
However, that's exactly where I find myself
(SGML environment, Hackos level 5 organization), and I'm

Although I like the excitement of a startup environment and
thoroughly enjoy setting up the processes and procedures,
styles and templates, and the work relationships and review exercises
to make everything happen, it's also good not to have to
worry about what kinds of little technical glitches might
spring up overnight (and will that keep the docs from

Actually, a true startup environment is fun, and pulling
a growing startup together so it's not in permanent
crisis mode is also fun. A maturing organization that
pretends to be a startup so it doesn't
have to have (and follow) processes is often a pain.

The older I get, the more I appreciate how process _can_
be liberating and give me as a writer more time for stuff that's
more fun than fussing with file formats and print drivers
and for stuff that makes more of a difference to the
organization as a whole. (Note that bad processes can
be stifling, no doubt, but I know that, at least in my
case, my definition of bad process has changed and
shrunk as I've matured as a tech writer.)

Just some thoughts,

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