Good Managers WAS:Re: Implementing a single source management system painlessly

Subject: Good Managers WAS:Re: Implementing a single source management system painlessly
From: edunn -at- transport -dot- bombardier -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 8 Nov 2000 11:59:58 -0500

Andrew Plato wrote:
>>All good tech-pubs managers should be active writers on their team.
>>Single-source is a nice idea that is often a fantastic waste
>>of efforts because it does not create real value

Careful with the generalizations. Our Techpubs department is about 40 people. We
cover manuals, parts cataloges, and training. Our supervisors are neither active
trainers, writers, illustrators, or catalogers.

We are resposable currently for 3 major contracts covering what probably amounte
to hundreds of thousands of pages of documentation, Add to that the maintenance
of a number of smaller on-going projects and contracts. (We have a docutech that
runs full time.) Missing milestones means payments worth millions of dollars are
withheld. Training (including materials, videos, and CBT) covers hundreds of
maintenance personel over several months.

All documentation must constantly updated and include information from dozens of
suppliers (contractually changes must be documented before they are implemented
in some contracts). All documentation must also appear to have come from the
same source.

Perhaps in the crusade against procedure and/or defining what a REAL (tm)
Techwriter or Manager should be, we should all consider that not all situations
are the same. Without XML/SGML, databases, and a solid procedure the only way to
meet our requirements would be to mutiply our department by 10. Once the expense
is covered/justified by a large contract, all contracts regardless of size
benefit afterwards.

Are our Managers not good managers? Is our expenditure on process a waste?

While at the end of the post the possiblity is opened up that there may be times
such procedures may be required the over all tone rejects it out of hand.

Many on this list may be in small shops, most are in software. But could we
please consider the wide ranging realities of others on the list? Be very
careful when including absolute judgments in posts.

Eric L. Dunn
Bombardier Transportation

All opinions are my own. Etc.

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