RE: What is a reasonable training period for newbie writers?

Subject: RE: What is a reasonable training period for newbie writers?
From: "walden miller" <wmiller -at- vidiom -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 10 Nov 2000 10:07:12 -0700

At Vidiom, we have one official three month probation period to establish
whether a writer will come up to speed and fit into the company. At the end
of the three months, a go/no-go decision is made and the writer continues to
train and write or is let go. [this is of course all up front with new hires
and in all offer letters, etc.]

During those three months, I expect my writers to be able to write
sections/chapters/manuals with guidance and copy editing from a project
manager. I expect them to use the style manual and ask questions. By the
end of the three months, I expect them to be directly working with engineers
to get original source material for their work. I do not expect to hold
their hands much after three months. HOWEVER...

If they show promise and fit into Vidiom well, I also will work with them
for up to about 9 months on the thornier sides of API writing. If I am
still providing significant chunks of my time at nine months I would have to
consider taking actions. Those actions would come in the form of official
reviews and task lists to work on problems. I have yet to do that with any
employee at Vidiom or Philips or Microware (three companies at which I have
been docs manager). The three month period is usually enough to weed out
employees that will not work out.

My best advice is to train to the point that you think they should be able
to run with it. Hire people that don't need micromanagement. Unless you are
a micromanager :)

There should be no absolutes for training schedules of individuals. It all
depends on their background and the tasks you want them to accomplish.

Hope this helps
walden


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