Re: tracking writer progress on tight deadline?

Subject: Re: tracking writer progress on tight deadline?
From: Dick Margulis <margulis -at- fiam -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2002 19:24:34 -0500


Set clear expectations.

First, show them a model topic. Spend a short amount of time with them (together or individually) describing WHAT you want (i.e., not HOW to do it). For example, if you have an easy-to-complete topic outline/template, and if they are at least a little bit familiar with things like paragraph styles, you might tell them that you want them to use the correct styles and follow the provided outline. If they are totally unprepared for that kind of requirement, you might suggest they just write the procedures in an email to you. Or something in between. You know them; I don't.

Second, tell them WHEN you need the deliverables (spaced out over the next week, not all bunched up on day 10). Don't waffle; don't give them a soft deadline. Explain what the word _deadline_ means in a publication office, as opposed to what it means in an engineering office. (This is a Whorfian ambiguity that has sunk many a project; so be explicit).

Third, tell them you are available if they want advice or instructions on HOW (to organize the information, use the template, whatever), but that you expect them, as professionals, to meet the deadlines you just gave them.

Once you've given them their marching orders, relax. Breathe slowly and deeply. Stock up on whatever gets you in a good mood (chemical, spiritual, whatever), and pitch in. Write as many of the topics yourself as you can while you're waiting for the others to start delivering their drafts. When the drafts do start rolling in, just make the edits yourself and highlight any point you need technical clarification on.

Finally schedule a short vacation for the day after the deadline.


julie brodeur wrote:


I have a tight deadline coming up (12 working days) in which to coordinate
4 inexperienced writers (they are technical experts, not writers, but are
writing due to the time constraint).

Do any of you have recommendations on how I can make sure I get the
documentation from these "writers" in time for me to format and edit the
data? (And run it past reviewers and update it.)

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tracking writer progress on tight deadline?: From: julie brodeur

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