Re: Help with Outsourcing Tech Pubs

Subject: Re: Help with Outsourcing Tech Pubs
From: David Neeley <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2005 17:16:14 -0600

Best practices?

1. Employ a writer whose native language is the target language. If
your customer base is American, it is often advisable to use an
American tech writer...even in the foreing shop location.

(Interestingly, I am presently in the application process for just
such jobs in Ukraine and Russia...).

2. Co-locate your tech pubs with your developers. If you develop
offshore, do your docs there if you must...if development stays here,
outsourcing the docs is a disaster waiting to happen.

3. Get a *very* good sampling of the work of any prospective Indian
tech writers. Some are every bit as good as Westerners in written
English; others are definitely not.

4. Determine how you will communicate with them. As you are aware, not
everything can be done effectively in writing. To that end, be sure
you can effectively convey problems, questions, and comments verbally
as well as in writing. (I worked with Indian outsourced programmers on
one task, and our telephone conferences were quite memorable and,
often, frustrating!).

5. Make the docs being outsourced as clean as possible...with styles
carefully applied, no style overrides, and clean doc templates.

6. If you don't already have it, consider both a VOIP phone link and
establish a schedule when there can be phone conferences with the
offshore group. This will probably mean some very strange hours on one
or both ends when these are scheduled....

7. Determine if someone familiar with your docs is available and
wiling to relocate there, as a working lead.

8. If the department has not yet been created there, I would also
consider alternative sites. For instance, I would seriously consider
New Zealand or Australia--both of which have some excellent
documentation people and practices, less of a communications barrier,
while still having what we would regard as very reasonable labor

These, off the top of my head, are some of the lessons I have learned
through some hard-won experience. Let us hope yours is better.


On Wed, 05 Jan 2005 14:45:05 -0800, Amico Italiano <tgr -at- lanminds -dot- com> wrote:

> I was wondering if anyone on the list has had experience setting up a
> tech pubs department in India or somewhere else out of the country, and
> whether you can offer tips, hints, and suggestions for managing
> foreign-born staff remotely. What are some pitfalls to be avoided?
> Cultural issues to be aware of? Best practices? Thanks.
> - t



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Help with Outsourcing Tech Pubs: From: Amico Italiano

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