RE: Into the Frying Pan

Subject: RE: Into the Frying Pan
From: Deidre Guy <DGuy -at- hcad -dot- org>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 1 Oct 2015 13:04:17 +0000

Wow different city and state same problem. I feel your pain. :)

On Thu, Oct 1, 2015 at 8:22 AM, Chris Morton <salt -dot- morton -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

> Hi All,
>
> *BACKGROUND:* I'm but one publications specialist on a very large
> scale, corporate-run program in contract with New York. Although the
> corporation is known worldwide as an entity intimately involved with
> business documents, it has no official style guide. Well, marketing
> kinda sort has one... but then we've come across several variants on
> our own. And they even formally published one in 1988 that was offered
> for sale; it smacks of very early DTPitis (I was part of the DTP vanguard at the time).
>
> Our four-person publications department has a lot resting on its
> shoulders, and is (not) being managed by a person who has never run a
> pubs department before. Like half of our small dept., she's been on
> this job less than one full month and is learning as we go along. (Yet
> there is no time for that, as the horse is already out of the barn.)
>
> (BTW, corporate has equipped each of us with a single, tiny monitor,
> so attempting to speed edit with two docs up side-by-side is a real
> challenge, never mind the fact that we're all stuffed into study
> carrels (not even a normal cubicle). Some are on Office 2013, others
> 2010, so there's no telling why the disparity in system images and
> licensing.)
>
> As with any state gig, I suppose, many things are in a quandary (I
> previously saw it while on a Deloitte project withe the CA Dept. of
> Workers' Comp.). Apparently several deliverables were already supposed
> to have been created and approved, including an overall outreach plan
> that includes many items pubs is charged with creating.
>
> Last week the pubs manager was still taking a leisurely approach to
> that doc, thinking that we only needed to have it roughed out, that
> the state would help us finalize dates and whatnot. It was up to us to
> first discover, then appropriate and thoroughly rewrite, a similar
> plan created in California for a sister program in that state (it was
> written by a bunch of youngsters who still write as if to impress
> their university professor.).
>
> No SME was involved, so much of the translation of that doc was by
> guess and by golly.
>
> Surprise! As of Tuesday afternoon, the state was up in arms that the
> plan had not already been finalized, submitted and approved.
>
> From the roll of her eyes, sighing, and other body language clues, the
> pubs manager knows she's in over her depth but continues with the struggle.
>
> *PROBLEM*: The version of the 15-pp doc I had created, minus dates,
> was carefully formatted in Word with section breaks, numbered headers
> and a TOC (plus a lot of other pro touches). Unbeknownst to me, it was
> sent around to other departments for markup. There was little
> agreement among the players there, and several did not use Track Changes to mark it up.
>
> Yesterday morning I was urgently (everything's become URGENT!)
> instructed to sit in on a Webex call with two SMEs, who wanted to do
> yet another line edit. I was supposed to help guide them, collect
> inputs, and then magically assimilate all changes into a perfectly
> formatted, state-"presentation ready" doc by 2:30. The SME conference
> lasted until noon, and I'm required to "punch out" for an hour lunch (I cut my lunch break way short anyway).
>
> But I soldiered on, being less than pleased with the resultâalthough I
> gave it the yeoman's effort.
>
> BUT... I found out later in the afternoon that, once I was done, pubs
> mgr had given it to another in our department to reformat it from Arial 11 pt.
> (the true corporate std.) to Arial 10 pt.(what the pubs mgr. found in
> a some PPT, origin unknown). That would have thrown off all of my
> careful page breaks and other typesetting finesses. I didn't see the
> final product before it went back to the state for their OK.
>
> *SOLUTION*: Other than getting the heck out of there ASAP, what
> process could we have employed in the intra-departmental doc review so
> as to maintain the integrity of the Word doc each step of the way?
>
> (I've considered distributing a PDF and letting others comment on it,
> but we don't so much as have access to Acrobat Pro. Corporate endorses
> CutePDF, but I've never worked with it. Would the standard Acrobat Reader suffice?
>
> What other methodologies have worked for you in such a situation?
>
> Thanks much,
>
> > Chris
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--
*Daniel Friedman*
*friedmantechpublications.com* <http://friedmantechpublications.com>
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References:
Into the Frying Pan: From: Chris Morton
Re: Into the Frying Pan: From: Daniel Friedman

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