Re: Average Hours Worked ( long )

Subject: Re: Average Hours Worked ( long )
From: SteveFJong -at- aol -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 1 Aug 2002 22:51:05 EDT


Dick Margulis <margulis -at- mail -dot- fiam -dot- net> wrote (many snips by me):

>> I'm ... suggesting that tech writing is largely a black box operation.
>> I'll provide the inputs for each development phase ...
>> and you'll give me a sequence of outputs ...
>> But I won't tell you how to do your work or when to do your work
>> or where to do your work.

>> It's no different from software development.
>> As long as I have working code by the delivery date,
>> I don't care how much foosball the developers play.

You know, of course, that software development, with its horrible track
record of missing delivery dates, is no model to emulate.

But I want to work for you, Dick! When you ask for an installation document,
I could come back with an estimate of 75 pages over 9 months, and you'd have
reason to question me. After all, I'm a creative worker 8^)

Seriously, we working stiffs don't get to claim black-box status. True, the
more repetitive the work, the more one can make accurate work-unit estimates.
(The technician who replaces your muffler is performing a standard work unit,
and the shop won't get paid a penny more no matter how rusted the bolts are.)
I don't claim technical writing is piece work, but the larger the scale you
look at, the more predictable it becomes.

I agree that it's unreasonable to demand that every piece of writing work
take the same amount of time and effort. But I think it is reasonable to try
to understand and reduce the causes of variations. Why do some pages take
longer to write than others? Can we work that knowledge into our estimates?
While we're at it, why do you write better/faster than I? Maybe I should lay
off the foosball if I want a better raise.

-- Steve

Steven Jong--"Typo? What tpyo?"
mailto:SteveFJong -at- AOL -dot- com -dot- nospam
Home sweet home page: http://hometown.aol.com/SteveFJong


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