RE: Productivity Gains?

Subject: RE: Productivity Gains?
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: "Geoff Hart" <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>, "Technical Writing" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, "Allan Ackerson" <alackerson -at- msn -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2009 14:14:56 -0500

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
years.

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."

Ahem.

- Kevin

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> techwr-l-bounces+kevin -dot- mclauchlan=safenet-inc -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr
-l.com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+kevin.mclauchlan=safenet->
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
> problems,
> 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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Follow-Ups:

References:
Productivity Gains?: From: Allan Ackerson
Productivity Gains?: From: Geoff Hart

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