RE: Status of the Technical Writer

Subject: RE: Status of the Technical Writer
From: "Lauren" <lt34 -at- csus -dot- edu>
To: "'Gene Kim-Eng'" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>, "'Techwr-l'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 8 Jun 2007 11:12:50 -0700


> at least as complicated as filling out your income taxes). Most
> "technology" employed by government is produced by
> private-sector contractors, and the "tehcnological technical
> writing" is done there.

The contracts on GSA are the private-sector contracts with the government.
The companies cannot bill for a service that they do not provide in the
contract. The companies can pay for the overhead to maintain themselves,
like administrative costs, office staff, and so forth, but they cannot
provide (and bill for) technical writing if it isn't in the contract.

Are you saying the technical writing that these companies provide is
something that they pay for in overhead? The way I see it, it is something
that they do not even provide.

Let's say, for example, ABC development is contracted to build a database
system for a federal agency. All of the work is performed on-site and with
the agency's people as SMEs. The contract has a Project Manager, Business
Analyst, and Programmers but no Technical Writers. Who documents the system
for the users? The Project Manager does not perform tasks, the Business
Analyst is busy gathering business and functional requirements, and the
Programmers are busy writing code. Other job categories in the contracts
that I've seen do not include more writing than the three in my example.
Does ABC supply documentation for free? Is the agency responsible for the
documentation of the new system? Is there no documentation?

> I have no experience with government documentation on the
> state or local levels, but I would expect them to be similar.

The State of California requires that state contractors have a contract that
is based on a GSA contract. Non-GSA contracts can be used as a base contract
in certain cases. The state contracts are called CMAS contracts. Many
local agencies use contractors with CMAS contracts. I am trying to write an
offer for a CMAS contract that includes the job categories for work that I
have performed. The job category of Technical Writer seems to only appear
in temporary employment contracts where the contract rate is low.

I have completed quite a few "technical writing" contracts as a
sub-contractor for the State of California. I had a good rate most of the
time. I am starting to learn that the work that I provided was way beyond
the description of Technical Writer because there was a lot of business
analysis and an FSR. I want avoid sub-contracting to a CMAS contractor that
is generally an employment agency that takes 40% of the bill rate and I want
to be the CMAS contractor.

Do I make an offer that does not include technical writing because the job
category is so bad?

> Gene Kim-Eng



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Re: Status of the Technical Writer: From: Gene Kim-Eng

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