Ratio of tech writers to developers

Subject: Ratio of tech writers to developers
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: techwr-l digest recipients <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 01 Jul 2000 20:28:27 -0700

Bill Swallow <bill_swallow -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote:

>There is no ideal writer to programmer ratio. Why?
>Because there's no ideal work situation! Well, sure,
>there may be for one company or one product division,
>but you simply cannot apply these numbers across the
>SW industry.



Your points are sensible, and would be useful for a specific
company looking at its documentation needs.

However, generalizations do serve a point. For example, I'm
interested in the average ratio because it's a good indicator of
what companies might need more writing services. Although my last
two companies have made hiring a writer a top priority (so that
I was the fourth or fifth person hired), most companies don't
think about documentation until they've grown more. So, if I know
that a company has grown to about 15 developers, I also know that
the company probably needs at least one writer.

Similarly, if HR types see that there are 30 writers and only 1
writer, then that's a good sign that they should look into the
need for another writer. That's when the criteria you suggest
become important - to see if they actually do need another one.

Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications
Contributing Editor, Maximum Linux
bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com | Tel: 604.421.7189

"Courage was mine, and I had mystery,
Wisdom was mine, and I had mastery."
- Wilfred Owen, "Strange Meeting"

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