Re: How much are you worth? (Was: Technical Writing - Consulting Experienc

Subject: Re: How much are you worth? (Was: Technical Writing - Consulting Experienc
From: David Hamilton <david -at- URSUS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 1993 10:30:41 PST

Ken d'Albenas wrote:

> A programmer consultant was struggling to document an application
> he had written for a client (actually, a sub-application
> enhancing a bigger one already on line). He wasn't doing too
> badly, and certainly had top-of-the-line documentation software,
> but to call his documentation "rough around the edges" would be
> a mild statement. And there was no joy in the task.

> The thing was, the consulting company he worked for was charging
> the client over $100/hr. The contract with the client called for
> software plus documentation. Contracts like this don't usually
> specify "polished" documentation, or even "guaranteed usable"
> documentation. Just "documentation." Not even a manual, just
> a dozen or so pages for users.

You have just described a situation where the client signed a very
poorly written contract, or made the mistake of dealing with a body
broker instead of a good consulting company. This is unfortunately

A good contract would, of course, specify standards for the
documentation and allow the consulting company the flexibility to use
the right people with the required skill sets at each phase of the

A good consulting company would already have an experience software
docs writer on staff, with whom the programmer had worked previously.

Of course, the fact that the programmer was being paid by the hour
indicates that the client didn't know what they wanted, what it was
worth, or how long it should take.

-dh (David Hamilton)

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