Subject: estimating
From: Jan Boomsliter <boom -at- CADENCE -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 1995 12:03:47 -0800

Estimating and scheduling publications jobs is a discipline itself.
You can't just pick up some software or some calculations, and spit
out anything realistic. It also sounds like you're doing this from
the SME's point of view, e.g., "it's already written, right?" so right
off the bat, you have a non-pubs person dictating a pubs estimate (and
you probably aren't going to listen to what anyone else says).

Make it simple: a doc is either new or revised; adding new material is
revising; reorganizing is revising; reformatting is a technical job.
Who has the expertise?

You also have to plug in what other people do, editors, production
people, illustrators, etc. Or is your writer doing all that?

If you don't have anyone with pubs estimating expertise, shop it out -
save yourself time, save morale, and get it done right.

Good luck, you'll need it.



In putting together a project estimation worksheet (used for estimating how
long it will take to do writing projects), we have come up with some
differences in how the technical writers in our department define certain
terms. Could you "fill out" the following questions and let me know YOUR
definitions of the following technical writing "terms?"

If you forward all of your answers to me at: William -dot- Hartzer -at- emc2-tao -dot- fisc -dot- com
I will be happy to summarize and re-post it to the list. Thanks!

1) What's your definition of "new pages"
(i.e., if the Subject Matter Expert provides you with the technical
information in a text-based format, are you still writing "new pages" of


1a) How many hours per page should "new pages" take?


2) What's your definition of "heavy revisions"
(ie., If a SME provides you with this technical information on paper, is
this considered to be "heavy revisions" since the SME "already" wrote it out
for you? In other words, this is NOT to be considered "new pages" because
it's been 'written down' already, right?)

WRONG; the SME provides info; the writer writes.

2a) How many hours per page should "heavy revisions" take?

don't bother with this term; it's either new info or it isn't.

3) What's your definition of "Light revisions" see above

3a) How many hours per page should "light revisions" take?

4) What's your definition of "Reorganizing" (existing documents)

you either revise or you don't; don't let everybody get all caught up
in trying to quantify every blasted thing. Sounds like you are trying
to hold people's feet to the fire, instead ofusing guidelines as -

4a) How many hours per page should "reorganizing (existing doc)" take?

5) What's your definition of "Re-formatting"

5a) How many hours per page should "reformatting" take?

We use this information to determine how many total estimated hours it will
take to do an entire project by using a formula to determine it. We then take
the total estimated hours and plug that number into another chart, which
calculates our timeline--and when each "task" of the project will be done (by

Bill Hartzer

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