Writer : Developer Ratio (Help!)

Subject: Writer : Developer Ratio (Help!)
From: "Dawn C. Lindley" <DLINDLEY -at- ECS-INC -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 1997 10:35:07 -0400

Hello, fellow tech-writers:

Help me get some help! I would like to build a case for increasing our
documentation staff. Any cold, hard facts or advice you can give me for
approaching management would be appreciated. Here is my situation:

I'm currently the only technical writer assigned to document one of our
products: a comprehensive business software system with over 12
modules. I work with a team of 18 developers and they are producing
code much, much faster than I can document. After two years with this
company, I'm still trying to get out the initial set of manuals. These
manuals are almost instantly outdated due to the software
enhancements that are being developed each day.

Traditionally, our company has been small enough that one technical
writer per product has (almost) been able to keep up with the
documentation needs. The technical writer does it all -- researches,
designs, writes, edits, and formats both on-line and printed

Since our company is undergoing growing pains, I believe management is
unaware of the effort that it takes to document a product of this size. It
was a complete surprise to the project manager here that other
companies' documentation teams consisted of editors, formatters,
illustrators, and maybe even one or two more writers! He asked if there
was a rule of thumb he could use to approach his management, such as
a ratio of developers to writers. Other than personal experience, I had
nothing concrete to give him.

Send e-mail to me personally at dlindley -at- ecs-inc -dot- com, and I will post a
summary of the responses. Thanks in advance for your help!

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