Re: Hours per Page

Subject: Re: Hours per Page
From: Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 15 Feb 1997 07:45:08 PST

>My question to you is: what do you use for that hours per page number? 1?
>3? other? I know there are industry standards, but I'm interested in what
>you actually use.

You do this either by:

1. Making guesses based on no actual data, or

2. Keeping records and basing your guesses on past performance.

Even in this, the Age of Science, most people still use method 1, using
ancient industry rules of thumb that are decoupled from the work, the
workers, the methods used, the quality of the source material, the
quality of the final material, and the work environment.

For what it's worth, I've heard "one page per man-day" and "two pages
per man-day" (that is, 8 and 4 billable hours per page) for high-tech
writing. This at least gives fair warning that high-tech writing
is slow, but we all know that some high-tech writing is ten times as
difficult as others.

If you keep track of your own time and schedule, and the nature of each
job, you will slowly accumulate a set of records of how fast you are
at the kinds of work you do. Then you can estimate based on past
performance. Last year, for example, I produced IC data books at
2.5 pages per man-day, which included layout and illustration in addition
to writing. Since I did more than one project, I have a vague idea
of how much variation to expect from project to project. (Since 2.5
pages per day is ridiculously fast for VLSI data books, I raised
my rates after I did the analysis. I'm still a real bargain compared
to the 1-page-per-day worker (which is the right ballpark for this
sort of work), but I'm not a RIDICULOUS bargain.)

-- Robert
Robert Plamondon, High-Tech Technical Writing, Inc.
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (541) 453-5841 * Fax: (541) 453-4139

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