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If management doesn't already have some problem areas (specific to the
fucntion of the group) in mind, then there's an implicit assumption that
all areas of the company are equally
inefficient/sub-optimally-productive, and an implicit penalty on those
who have engaged in ongoing streamlining and improvements over the
Use that to pre-frame the question when asking for the specific areas of
concern. When they say they don't have any specific areas, just a
general hunch, look aghast and say... "your kidding."
I really, really like Geoff's potshot at the user interface. When you
have to make up for the deficiencies of the interface with the
documentation, that's an inherent drain on productivity.
So-o-o-o-ooo... Here's your new major productivity initiative:
"Starting 2009/02/02, in the interest of productivity gain, we are
drastically raising our departmental input/receivables standards."
> -----Original Message-----
> techwr-l-bounces+kevin -dot- mclauchlan=safenet-inc -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr
inc -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Geoff Hart
> Sent: Wednesday, January 28, 2009 12:38 PM
> To: Technical Writing; Allan Ackerson
> Subject: Productivity Gains?
> Allan Ackerson wondered: <<Management here just popped us with an
> annual requirement to show "productivity gains"! I can think
> of some
> tweaks here and there which would make our operation leaner and
> meaner, but as far as general document production goes,
> nothing comes
> to mind that will meet the goals they want. Would anyone care to
> share initiatives they used in similar circumstances?>>
> <cues the music> "To dream, the impossible dream, ..." <g>
> There's no good way to do this, but there are a few less sucky ways.
> First, ask management what areas they see as problems so you
> can look
> for specific solutions tailored to those problems. That will
> give you
> maximum bang for your buck. (If they don't actually see any
> it's up to you whether it would be politically astute to ask them
> "then what the frack are you trying to fix?")
> One really good solution that you haven't a hope in Hades of
> implementing would be the following: "If we made the interface more
> intuitive (for example, by using user-centered design combined with
> usability testing and by embedding help and affordances in the
> interface), we could reduce the amount of documentation required by
> 20%. That would have obvious implications for productivity."
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