RE: Technical Writers to Engineers Ratio?

Subject: RE: Technical Writers to Engineers Ratio?
From: Lyn Worthen <Lyn -dot- Worthen -at- caselle -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 14:47:45 -0600

Sorry 'bout the earlier quippy remark.

Non-TW staff:
- 16 developers, 4 sales reps, 12 support techs, and 12 trainers
- we develop, sell, support, and train 26 applications

The two full-time TWs (myself and one other)
- write/maintain documentation and Help files (the other writer)
- write/maintain curriculum (me)
(That puts us at a 1:16 ratio with the developers, and a 1:12 ratio with the

In addition to being TWs, we're -also- the MarComm staff
- write content & maintain website
- writing/designing quarterly newsletters
- writing/maintaining marketing collateral
- writing/developing sales presentations, demos, etc.
- writing/developing/etc. Annual User Conference material (brochures,
proceedings, etc.)
(That puts us at a 1:2 ratio with the sales staff)

In addition to being TWs and MarComm, each of us is -also- on the design
team for a new product, with the responsibility for creating/maintaining the
living documentation that will become the functional specification for that
(That puts us at a 1:8 ratio with the other members of the design team)
(Or at a 1:1 ratio of writer:team)

If the "1:" of each of those figures wasn't one of the same two people, it
would probably be OK. As is, I repeat, the ratio is not enough:too many.

There is more work than we can do; management knows this, and other than
suggesting priorities, pretty much accepts our timelines and project
management opinions. For our part, we farm out work to the occasional
contractor when we can, and otherwise do our best to support each other and
keep projects moving through the pipe.

All in all, not as bad as some reported on this list.



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