Re: When document writing does not have or follow guidelines...

Subject: Re: When document writing does not have or follow guidelines...
From: kcronin -at- daleen -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 7 Dec 2001 10:11:13 -0700

The fonts are the least of your concern, in my opinion.

First, locate all the pertinent documents. If need be, copy them all into
your own directory. You can work on naming conventions, directory
structures, etc. at your convenience.

This puts you in a "gatekeeper" position, which I've found can be a great
boon to one's career. Becoming the person people go to when they need
information can sometimes be inconvenient, but really boosts your
"indispensability factor."

The reason there is no naming convention or directory structure in your
company is that nobody has time to create one. If you create your own, and
codify and rename this information in a reasonably intuitive way, I think
your coworkers will be thrilled. You'll have just made their jobs easier.
I found that I added great value to my current position by becoming the
centralized resource for finding documents and pertinent chunks of info.

If you have the ability, create a simple intranet where everybody can
locate these commonly used documents. Nothing fancy, just a
where-the-files-are site, full of links. I have had people go nuts with
their praise for this simple tool, which I coded in a few hours of my free
time. Even if you can't do this, and the documents have to live in
disparate locations, FIND THEM, and keep track of where they live. Knowing
where they are is FAR more important than them all having nice consistent
names. Save that for when things calm down.

An SOW (Statement of Work for those not familiar with the acronym) will
tend to be filled with legalese. Numbered headings are probably required,
other than that, don't sweat it. These documents are never pretty, so you
don't really need to do the Font Fairy thing to them.

Ellen, your boss gave you an important insight when they told you that you
should not just identify problems, OFFER SOLUTIONS. Particularly in a
startup, that's the way to go. Everybody has to wear several different
hats, and just being a good worker bee won't cut it. You have a chance to
shape your own job - take advantage of it! Good luck....

- Keith Cronin


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