RE: Docs for profit

Subject: RE: Docs for profit
From: "Tanja Rosteck" <tsr -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 22 May 2001 18:08:50 -0400

John Lumsden wrote:

> Even though you're an independent business, you're just
> like my department
> in that you provide a service. My idea is to provide a
> product. As the Tech
> Comm Manager, I would be in charge of developing that
> product to the best of
> my professional capability, just like the widget project
> manager is in
> charge of developing his product to the best of his
> professional capability.
> We'd both take input from each other and various interested
> parties, but in
> the end, make our own decisions about the best way to
> implement. Am I being
> delusional?

IMHO, Absolutely not. It's a great idea - PROVIDED you get sufficient
buy-in from not only other departments, but the head honchos as well.

This is a problem I dealt with all the time when managing helpdesks.
The support center is usually considered the "black hole" in many
companies, and it's tough to make others (especially the company's
leaders) understand how your department's service/product is of
*strategic value* to the company meeting their bottom line. (Of
course, if the company doesn't seem to have any strategy or plan, you
may be out of luck <grin>).

No matter how dense some senior management were, they would never
argue with numbers. I found the best way to go was to calculate the
costs of running the department (not hard if you're already in charge
of the department budget) and compare that to the costs of NOT having
a support center. That means roughly calculating (and estimating)
costs like average time spent per employee on trying to fix their own
PC and network problems, asking co-workers for help, productivity
losses, possible number of customers or prospects lost because key
staff were unreachable by email, and so on.

Doing the same sorts of calculations for a documentation department,
showing the monetary benefits of your product, and presenting them to
senior managers should do the trick. If nothing else, it will probably
earn you a lot of respect as someone who is able to see "the big
picture". You will probably be allowed to make more decisions
independent of other departments as a result, rather than being a
"slave to R&D" or whatever the case may be.

If you need any more suggestions or specifics, don't hesitate to
contact me off-list. Good luck!


Tanjerine Communications
phone 514.935.0463
email tanja -at- tsr-writing -dot- com


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RE: Docs for profit: From: Lumsden, John (GSP)

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