RE: Managing A Project

Subject: RE: Managing A Project
From: "Dan Glovier" <dglovier -at- edline -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2003 09:27:44 -0600

> When you start a project:
> 1) How much time does it takes for you to research and write up one
> of reasonably polished-up information for a subject you are not
> with?

This is a tough question as the research bit can fluctuate greatly. See
the massive posts from a week or two ago about writer knowledge and
you'll see how hot of a topic this is on this list. :)

Also, people do work at different speeds. As I've coached folks who have
worked in my department, this is something you will have to learn for
yourself. Whenever I had a project to schedule, I would distribute the
work and ask the writer for their (yes, their!) guesstimate on how long
it would take to get the first draft completed. This gave us reasonable
dates that were met on a very consistent basis. Sadly, this is something
you'll have to learn.

And remember, what takes you three hours to do now might take you two
hours to do in six months, and even less in a year from now.

> 2) Do you polish up each page/section as much as possible before you
> move
> to the next page/section, or do a rough draft, knowing you'll fix it
> up
> at the end of the project?

I do not, but that's personal preference. Then again, your requirements
may force you to deliver a completed section at a time (this I've seen
and done) to reach milestones for the overall manager of the project.

As I learn a subject, the information begins to take shape in my head.
There are standard sections I use (for software: TOC, index,
introduction, install, uninstall, etc.), and then each project brings
its own needs to the table.

The last thing I do is the final arrangement and location of information
(TOC) and the index. This is the final step before the final review.

> 4) How do you know when you're spending too much time working on a
> specific section of the project?

When I'm not writing and I start to feel frustrated and unproductive; I
usually move on to something else to keep it rolling. Sometimes you have
to work through these hard situations, and if I'm making progress
(finding information, creating content albeit slowly, etc.) I can chalk
it up to a tough stretch.

> 5) How many hours do you normally spend, as an average, per week,
> researching, writing and editing?

When I have my tech writing only hat on, I'm usually doing this about
75% of the time. The other 25% of the time is involved with related
issues that must be addressed, but not researching, writing, and

When I was putting together schedules and someone gave a guesstimate of
30 hours for a project, I would schedule it for five full days of work.
Why? I think, barring overtime, that you will get six solid hours of
work out of someone, and the other two go to superfluous issues that are
work related, but not project related (answering phones, questions,
assisting others, etc.).

-Dan Glovier


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Managing A Project: From: Alexandra Han

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