Re: MS Word 2003 - Working without a template

Subject: Re: MS Word 2003 - Working without a template
From: SB <sylvia -dot- braunstein -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2008 18:30:13 +0200

Please, let me make a correction. This individual has not been working
"full-time" on this. When I say substantial, I meant substantial in
comparison with the amount of pressure we have.

On 1/13/08, SB <sylvia -dot- braunstein -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
> We are working with MS Word 2003.
> 1. I inherited documentation several years ago. Because there was always
> so much work, I never bothered creating a template even though a simple
> template would have been nice. In my previous company, we didn't use a
> template even though my boss always wanted to implement one. I definitely
> didn't have as much work in my previous company as I do here.
> 2. My colleague started developing a template a year ago or so when he
> started working here. He has been investing a lot of effort into that and
> somehow, I feel that it is a lot of work instead of focusing on the
> documentation. Again, we don't have extra time for anything at all, on the
> contrary, we are totally overloaded.
> We are now two full-time Technical Writers (he is a freelancer) for a
> company of 170 growing exponentially, as do the products, on a daily basis.
> There are many products. I can't keep up with the rhythm of the
> requirements.
> My colleague focuses a lot on doing things right, which is nice but we
> don't have the time to do it. I focus more on getting things done. So, I
> keep going and going and he keeps developing and doing things the way he
> thinks it should be done, which of course takes a lot longer.
> It would be nice if we could indeed do things right but we are not a large
> company.
> We just hired a freelancer who had worked for large companies who was in
> shock that I was not working with a template (actually, I was quite annoyed
> that he worked on it while we had to meet the sharp deadlines). A template
> can be a major development project and according to the hours he listed
> working on it, it was. All I had in mind was a simple template. What we now
> have is a rather sophisticated one, which is nice... but what about getting
> the work done? So I sometimes feel that I have hired him to get a template
> done and some of the documentation too.
> There is no doubt that we are understaffed and this year, we might also
> move onto different tool, like an authoring tool or a wiki, making the
> template obsolete anyway.
> 1. In a situation where you are continuously swamped, what is right,
> getting the job done or working according to the rules of the "religion"
> (which he set up since this is his template)?
> 2. How can I convince the management that we are understaffed? I am
> extremely frustrated. In October, during the budget discussions, I told them
> that we were in deep trouble and could not keep up with the requirements. I
> told them I needed two more writers.
> I see the company growing, R&D growing, and the technical writing team is
> remaining the way it was. A year ago, they hired the freelancer because I
> said I would quit. He was supposed to work part-time, he is working
> full-time. Then I thought that I was allowed to hire one technical writer
> but then when I found someone, they made me choose and to them, they'd
> rather have a technical writer in-house because it would be cheaper.
> I am there again, more frustrated than ever. I just can't handle this.
> They always pull the budget story, since I have been working here. However,
> we have been listed as the "fastest growing hi-tech company", and the whole
> company grows, products changes tremendously, teams are growing and I am
> spending days and nights trying to get to the deadline because my name is on
> the row.
> I am doing all the writing from scratch, documenting the User Interfaces
> with a project of about 1000 pages that is updated every six months or less
> and I am working on many other projects too. The freelancer mostly receives
> the documentation, edits and formats it. Both of us interview (that is when
> engineers are willing to take the time to do it because they are too busy
> developing).
> I would also like to know what is the writing cycle in a medium size
> company.
> - Who sets the priorities?
> - Does R&D write the documentation and the writers review it and
> format it? R&D don't have the time to even give support because they are
> busy developing.
> - Who reviews the documentation? QA? They can't help because they
> are busy with the QA cycle!
> - I would also like to know what is expected from a writer. How many
> pages, how many projects per writer?
> I would be happy if I could hear a couple words of advice.
> Frustrated.
> SB

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MS Word 2003 - Working without a template: From: SB

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