RE: Now lone techwriter, startup

Subject: RE: Now lone techwriter, startup
From: "Gomez, Philip F" <PhilipFGomez -at- eaton -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2002 08:49:58 -0500

Lots of good advice so far; but I just want to add one more thing. Pick up a
copy of the book _Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity_
by David Allen. Turn right to chapter 3, "Getting Projects Creatively Under
Way," and then pick a guinea pig project. Do the thinking that he asks you
to do, write your ideas on paper, and then see if it doesn't become a lot
clearer what needs to be done. (I find that when projects are clear enough,
they seem to do themselves.)

In my opinion, that book is worth the price just for that chapter alone.
However, it does have a lot of other good stuff in it too -- read the rest
when you have time.

I've read a lot of books on project management and even taken a course in
it. The biggest problem with all of them is that they are geared to formal
project planning -- where you have group meetings with everyone involved,
you make a very detailed task breakdown structure, you post your milestones
on a gantt chart or something, you track weekly progress, and so on. In my
opinion, the formal project planning tools are only useful for a small
number of projects -- granted, they may be critical projects, but still a
small number. For most projects, a good, informal planning method is not
only easier, but far more effective. (And most writing assignments are good
candidates for an informal method, like the method described in the book I
listed above.)

Phil Gomez
Lead Technical Writer
IT Education Team, Cutler-Hammer business unit

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