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I am working on a term paper for one of my TW classes and I wanted to
check with the members of the list --
Have any of you have participated in technical writers' consortium, or
have you thought about how to put a group like this together? Do you
think this is a viable work option? What are the pitfalls? Advantages?
The longer I work as a technical communicator (TC), and the more complex
the work becomes, the more obvious it is to me that I can't do all of it
as well as I would like. It takes too much time to master, maintain,
and research new tools for me to become proficient at all of them.
There are also a broad range of skills required during the document
cycle - planning, design, writing and graphics, editing, production, and
usability, for example. I know that I am strong in some areas, okay in
a few, and relatively weak in a couple. The idea appeals to me because
I like collaborating and I think both the TC and the customer benefit.
The TCs do what they do best and the customer gets a higher quality
product for the same cost.
In the latest issue of Technical Communication there is a short
reference in the review section to an article that appeared in
Step-by-Step Graphics last fall. The article was about a small group of
graphic designers who formed a consortium. Together they work under an
umbrella organization, but they also operate independently. There
appear to be significant benefits in working like this:
***marketing and networking efforts benefit the whole group
***the customer can get the quality of a full-range advertising company
at a fraction of the cost because of the reduced overhead
***the artists can work at home according to their own schedules
***they can team up according to expertise, depending on project
***not everyone has to have the same tools, so they can share resources
If you have tried this (or even thought about it!) what is the optimum
size group? How is money handled? Who handles projects? Are there
obvious pitfalls that can kill the idea before it gets off the ground?
What kind of people would fit this kind of work style? Are there other
What do you think? If you have tried this, or want to share ideas or
information, please e-mail me with your insights. This is a research
paper, so I would like to be able to quote you, if it is appropriate.
Thanks for your help (again!)
rnyman -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com
rikki -dot- nyman -at- alliedsignal -dot- com