Re: benefits of a publications manager?

Subject: Re: benefits of a publications manager?
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Mon, 07 Feb 2000 06:37:21 -0800

Stina Lane-Cummings <stina -at- real -dot- com> wrote:

>I am trying to convince some people here that we need a
>publication/documentation/user education manager. This is hard,
>there aren't any problems right now.

If there aren't any problems, why change? It's not clear from
your message why adding ot losing a person would create problems.
Maybe that's why you're having a hard time pitching the problem.

>But there isn't a career ladder and people don't get to work on
fun projects.

Even though I moved from tech-writing to upper management myself,
I think it's a mistake to think that people need a "career
ladder" to motivate them. In my experience, the best writers (and
programmers and designers) are the ones that enjoy the work for
its own sake. While I can see some benefit in designating junior
and senior writers, I wouldn't want to go much further.

> 1. How is a publications manager different from any other

They manage publications? :-)

Actually, I would stress that a publications manager should be
more of a foreman than a manager. By that, I mean that the people
making decisions or coordinating projects need to know the work,
and to be actively involved in doing it. Ideally, no more than
about half of a publication manager's job should be management;
for the rest of their time, they should be doing the same work as
senior writers. Otherwise, decision-making tends to lose sight of

(The same thing holds true, in my not at all humble opinion, for
programming managers)

2. What are the benefits of having a publications manager?

Assuming that the product manager is in touch with what is
happening, there's centralized planning. Also, there's someone to
insulate the writers from the office structure so that they can
concentrate on getting their work done.

Finally, you should also try to anticipate what are the problems
of having a publications manager. If you do, you'll be better
able to sell your idea.

Bruce Byfield, Product Manager, Stormix Technologies
Vancouver, BC, Canada

"J'y suis, j'y reste" - Louis XIV of France

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