RE: Cost per page metrics

Subject: RE: Cost per page metrics
From: "Al Geist" <al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com>
To: "'Bill Swallow'" <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>, "'Broberg, Mats'" <mabr -at- flir -dot- se>
Date: Tue, 8 Sep 2009 10:40:15 -0400

I agree with Bill. Years ago, a page was considered about 250 words
justified. This was way back in the 70s when I was writing guvmint
stuff...no illustrations, 12 pt Helvetica (using an IBM Composer). It's a
lot different today, especially when you consider the output usually has
gobs of illustrations (photos, vector art, and such) and can be purposed for
print, online, or both.

With that said, I also understand Max in his need to come up with a way to
estimate the cost of developing material. While there is nothing like the
experience of having done so many writing projects that you have a "gut
feeling" how much effort it will take to produce the required document, what
do you do if you haven't got that lengthy experience under your belt? It's a
good question and one that I don't have the answer. I have a staff of two
(myself and another writer). We have both been in this field for over 20
years and are fairly accurate in our project estimates. Ask us how we do it
and we'll give you the "industry estimates are 4-8 hours per page...blah,
blah, blah." Yet, there is more to our calculations. We look at the raw
material available, experience doing similar projects, knowledge of the
engineer in charge of the project and their level of participation, the
maturity of the project (we document huge wafer processing systems that are
always in development), and so on. I'm sure there is some "metric" that can
be applied, but we don't have time to develop that metric and therein lies
part of the problem. The people who want the "accurate" estimates do not
take into account that the people they want the estimates from do not have
the time to satisfy their wants.

It's been this way for the 37 years I've been writing for a living, and it
doesn't matter if it's consumer publications, technical writing, or
government gibberish.

Al Geist
Technical Communicator, Help, Web Design, Video, Photography
Office/Msg: 802-872-9190
Cell: 802-578-3964
E-mail: al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com
Website: www.geistassociates.com
See Also:
Fine Art Photography
Website: www.geistarts.com

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References:
Cost per page metrics: From: Broberg, Mats
Re: Cost per page metrics: From: Robert Lauriston
RE: Cost per page metrics: From: Broberg, Mats
Re: Cost per page metrics: From: Bill Swallow

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