Re: ANONYMOUS POST: Staffing with unskilled workers

Subject: Re: ANONYMOUS POST: Staffing with unskilled workers
From: Bill Swallow <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Techwr-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 2012 14:50:01 -0500

This is going to be a very matter-of-fact response.

You need to grow a pair and tell your management that you cannot use
unskilled people to write documentation. You need to make it painfully
clear that it is more work to train an unskilled person to get up to
speed than it is to just do the work yourself, and you need to again
reiterate that you need a skilled writer who can come in with minimal
hand-holding to help you.

I've been around the block and in this situation many times. Would
they toss the admin assistant into the developer pool? Or hand them
massive accounts to manage to help sales out? Would they hand someone
who has never driven anything more than a bicycle the keys to their
$150k Mercedes and have them pick up their kids from day care?

Not only is this a case of "you get what you pay for" but is also a
case of inventing work where it's absolutely not needed.

Grow a pair, put your foot down (politely) and explain this to them.
You're overworked, so they give you more to do (train an unskilled
person to eventually help you out). I could see if you were doing this
during downtime or doing this with other pro writers already helping
you (been there, done it all and more), but not in this situation. You
need to get it through their heads that while you appreciate the
gesture, that it's simply hurting more than helping, and you need to
bring in someone who can immediately get to work with minimal to zero
training from you.

On Fri, Jan 6, 2012 at 1:25 PM, INKtopia Admin <admin -at- inktopia -dot- net> wrote:
> Moderator Note:  The following is being posted on behalf of a Whirler who
> needs to remain anonymous.  Please post all replies to the list and not to
> me, as replies will not be forwarded to the original poster.
>
>
>
> I have been in this job for almost eight years. I started documenting two
> products. Now, I’m responsible for eleven. Three share similar interface
> and features, but it is a lot to handle. I’ve presented data on why an
> additional resource is necessary each year, and I’ve been rebuffed. Shortly
> before the end of 2011, I was told to hand one project to one of the Admin
> Assistants to do since “she has a lot of downtime until the summer.” She
> isn’t stupid, she isn’t clueless, but she can’t write. She is a novice at
> using Word. I use Flare as the authoring tool, and it is beyond her. Again,
> I’m not saying she’s stupid, but she doesn’t get the concepts or the
> workflow. She gave me seven topics to review, and they’re terrible.  While
> they’re spelled correctly and the mechanics such as grammar & punctuation
> are good, the procedures are poorly written and they’re just not
> acceptable.  I can rewrite them, but that’s not the point. When I brought
> up the writing problems and the time involved, my manager said that I need
> to help her come up to speed and work with her. I’ve tried to show her how
> to write a procedure and what goes into a topic, but it just doesn’t seem
> to work. I’ve suggested local and online courses that might help her, but
> there’s no budget for it. This is taking up more time that I can afford to
> devote to it.****
>
> ** **
>
> I’m trying to react to this with uh…grace and no emotion.****
>
> **
>
> What next steps would YOU take?
>
>
> Anonymous
>
> --
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--
Bill Swallow

Twitter: @techcommdood
Blog: http://techcommdood.com
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/techcommdood
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Create and publish documentation through multiple channels with Doc-To-Help.
Choose your authoring formats and get any output you may need. Try
Doc-To-Help, now with MS SharePoint integration, free for 30-days.
http://www.doctohelp.com

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References:
ANONYMOUS POST: Staffing with unskilled workers: From: INKtopia Admin

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