Corporate writing group structure

Subject: Corporate writing group structure
From: Steven Jong <SteveFJong -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 3 Oct 1997 10:49:11 -0400

Larry Weber <larry_weber -at- HOTMAIL -dot- COM> asked fretfully about a reorganization
from writers reporting to product managers to writers reporting to a writing

My work experience has been almost exclusively as a writer reporting to a
manager, so my biases can easily be determined. (Just check my signature line

if you're not sure 8^) That said, I would endorse this system over the one
under which Larry now labors.

Working in a writing group doesn't preclude specializing on one project for
as long
as you want. In fact, the easiest way to make assignments is to put one
writer on
on project, lather, rinse, and repeat. It's when writers want to, er, wash
their hands
of a project that the group organization can be easier.

With a writing group, work can indeed be handed out more efficiently. The
that requires 1.5 writers can be staffed appropriately, as can the project
that requires
0.5 writers, the mature project that requires a full-time writer for three
twice a year, and the "fall from the sky" project that requires one week
starting now.
The alternative, with separated writers working alone, is either inefficiency

Another aspect is that in a writing group, the job function gains corporate
and clout. Nobody champions the writer in isolation; you're on your own.
This may be fine for some people, but not for everyone. I can imagine ten
working in isolation, each trying to get a larger monitor than the engineers,
it will increase their efficiency. Will all ten succeed? I doubt all ten
would even
realize their need.

It's hard enough to enforce consistency or improve quality in a hierarchical
in isolation, I'd say it's nearly impossible.

Finally, working together helps ensure equal treatment. People working in
are more likely to report to someone who doesn't recognize or value their
This is not an abstract problem when it's time for raises. I would expect
that writers
in isolation, were they to compare paychecks after a few years, would be

All in all, I prefer the work group concept.

-- Steve

Steven Jong, Documentation Group Leader ("Typo? What tpyo?")
Lightbridge, Inc, 281 Winter St., Waltham, MA 02154 USA
mailto:jong -at- lightbridge -dot- com -dot- nospam 617.672.4902 [voice]
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