Re: est. hours

Subject: Re: est. hours
From: Bonni Graham <Bonni_Graham_at_Enfin-SD -at- RELAY -dot- PROTEON -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1993 11:26:00 EST


I'd have to tell you the same thing I said about contracting rates: it really
varies. Some things you need to think about when figuring time per page:
1) Your learning rate (unless you bill/estimate for learning curve separately,
which I don't recommend doing)
2) Your writing rate
3) Your hardware
4) Your software
5) Your work environment
6) The availability of your SMEs

I could go on, but you get the point. I usually figure about 4-6 hours per
finished page (learned, written, edited, reviewed, typeset, indexed, toc'd). I
usually write at about 2-3 hours per finished page, when everything is going
well, I have no interruptions, I don't have to learn any new software except
what I'm documenting, my hardware is working correctly, etc. (Incidentally,
this is why I bid fixed rate -- I bid at my estimated time, and write at my
writing time -- unless something goes wrong...)

A lot of it depends on whether you're estimating for inhouse (i.e. salaried)
work or for calculating a contract. If you're estimating for a contract, keep
it fairly low, so you don't scare them, but protect yourself by including a
rider to keep them from loading you with extra work for free. If you're
estimating for inhouse, I recommend the rule of pi: figure out what you really
think it's going to take (your average writing time), then multiply by pi to
account for interruptions, delayed review copies, uncooperative SMEs, etc.

Good luck and I hope this helps!

Bonni Graham | documentation, n. What passes
Technical Writer | for humor in the computer in-
Easel Corporation, ENFIN Technology Lab | dustry. A transcript of Sat-
Bonni_Graham_at_Enfin-SD -at- relay -dot- proteon -dot- com | urday Night Live as hosted
President, San Diego STC | by Torquemada --Ezra Shapiro

Would some of you kind folks please share a bit of your experience with me? I'm
trying settle on *a* number to use when estimating the time it will take to
complete a writing project.

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