Re: Ratio of Programmers (or Manuals) to Writers in Software

Subject: Re: Ratio of Programmers (or Manuals) to Writers in Software
From: John Gough <John_Gough -at- CCMAIL -dot- BMC -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 1995 11:22:19 CST

> We are trying to appropriately staff a software development group with
> writers.

FWIW, these are figures I've heard. Experience roughly bears them out (see
'Problem').

Good ratio: 4 or 5 developers to 1 writer
Max ratio: 10 developers to 1 writer

Right now I support four developers, but they are in two different product
groups. Keeping current on the technical and production aspects of both
takes lots of time--one's a mainframe product, one's a UNIX product.

Problem: projects vary a lot. One GUI programmer working on a brand new
product can keep one writer very busy under the right circumstances, while
10 systems programmers fixing bugs on v7.2.3 of a mature operating system
can leave the same writer with time to kill.

It can help to look at staffing requirements in terms of anticipated
documentation deliverables (how many releases of what books over the next 2
years). If you're facing a bulge, consider using contractors to get you
over the hump.

John Gough
BMC Software
Austin TX
john_gough -at- bmc -dot- com


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