Antwort: Centralization versus decentralization?

Subject: Antwort: Centralization versus decentralization?
From: kerstin -dot- molthagen -at- etas -dot- de
To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2000 11:08:50 +0200

Hi Geoff!

Geoff Hart wrote (18.10.2000):

>Advantages of decentralization:
>- Increased expertise in very specific areas.
>- Direct contact and formal working relationships with developers.
>- Direct recognition of the importance of documentation, and inclusion of
> writers in planning requirements.
>- Easier to get information from experts.
I am in the fortunate situation that, even though I am part of a writing
department, my office is among the product team whose manuals I write.
Thus, I enjoy most of the advantages of decentralization while suffering
little of the disadvantages.

>Disadvantages of decentralization:
>- Some writers will have too little work to do; some will have too much.
Which is the case now at my company: The online help I was supposed to
create has been postponed by development for about a year - and that sets
me free to help a colleague who has too much work plus an intensive
training program.

>- Overspecialisation may make it more difficult to move writers to other
> projects when resource needs increase. [...]
>- No single manager to advocate for your rights with senior management.
>- No consistency in style, quality control, usability testing, etc.
>- Budgeting becomes ad hoc [...]
>- Document management becomes more difficult
>- More difficult to work together to produce joint documentation when two
> products with different writers must be integrated.
>- Loss of knowledge sharing among writers (since the writers now won't
> each other regularly)
This is indeed a bit of a problem, but I've learnt how to deal with it.

>On the whole, I'd say the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.
Right. Some people at our company are considering decentralization; they
think it'd save money. However, we writers are going to resist as long as
possible. We would lose much of the influence we have on deadlines and
quality control (which is less than we'd like), and consistency would
become nearly impossible to maintain.



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