Corporate writing group structure (longish)

Subject: Corporate writing group structure (longish)
From: Betsy Shoolbred <BSHOOLBR -at- ECS-INC -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 2 Oct 1997 12:44:40 -0400

Larry and Sharon,

Changing from a project-based to a writer-based environment *can be* a
good move.

To start, no matter where you're placed in the company, you need the
right manager and the right co-workers. Well, I have the right manager,
good co-workers, and we have a separate department called Technical
Communications. My manager is a former writer, so she understands all
the ins and outs of our profession.

In our company each writer is on loan to a project ("like a piece of art in a
museum"). We work exclusively for that project unless we're needed
elsewhere and we have no pressing deadlines for our project. When a
project is slow, we can help other writers who are under the gun. This
way we become more knowledgeable about the company's products and
more useful to the company. Plus, this flexibility in scheduling writers is
useful in times of change. For example, one of our old products is being
phased out, and that writer is now sharing the workload with another
writer (who really needs help with a huge, ever-changing product). This
arrangement is good for both writers. One gets help where needed, and
the other won't be laid off or forced to work part time.

Plus, my boss was savvy enough to get the company web page and
intranet under her wing. Now the whole group contributes to the Intranet.
We really enjoy the diversity and the attention we're getting from this new
role. Also, our co-workers get to see the difference between a
professional writer and a person who just types in words and makes it
look pretty.

Another plus...we're in our own separate department. This puts us in
more of the spotlight. We are perceived to be more important (because
*we get a department of our very own*).

Another plus... group support within our profession. If we have a
question or a problem, someone in our group is able to answer it, solve it,
or point to the right direction. We all read and learn from different
sources, and we share our knowledge. Our manager also knows that
we need to do some "bonding" activities to help us be a cohesive group.
We occasionally go to a breakfast meeting at a local restaurant. We talk
personally and professionally. (Thank goodness we all like to laugh. We
do have a good time together.)

Downside? Not really. My project team works on the other side of the
building, but I can still sustain a good working relationship.

Good luck!

Betsy Shoolbred
Enterprise Computer Systems
bshoolbr -at- ecs-inc -dot- com
"As has been said in various ways, men are noisy, narrow-band
-L.C.R. Licklider
"Man-Computer Symbiosis"

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