Re: Productivity Measurements

Subject: Re: Productivity Measurements
From: Jon Leer <jleer -at- LTC -dot- MV -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 3 Feb 1998 10:07:57 -0400

No matter what method you devise, the best is simple accounting. What saves
the company money. Reduced costs while keeping the customer happy.

Jon Leer

> From: Michael Johnson <michaelj -at- OECMED -dot- COM>
> To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
> Subject: Re: Productivity Measurements
> Date: Monday, February 02, 1998 10:39 PM
> Earlier today Tony Rocco asked us how to measure tech writer =
> productivity. =20
> I wish I had a good answer to this one. After 20 years in the business =
> I have seen just about every kind of measure used, very little of it =
> accurate to any usable degree. Tony, I can tell you what to avoid with =
> much more confidence than I can advise you what to do.
> My previous boss (and his boss) used the Cro-Magnon method to evaluate =
> technical writers: hours per page. Although this is probably the least
> accurate measure, non-writing or pseudo-writer managers love it because =
> it allows them to dodge other elements that require writing ability and =
> experience to evaluate. Among other things, they don't have to consider
> a writer's ingenuity, technical savvy, ability to ferret out =
> information, ability to communicate with the customer and SMEs, and =
> ability to produce clear, succinct, accurate, complete, grammatically =
> correct, usable books. In fact, they get to ignore the quality issues =
> altogether.
> While these same managers get the pounds of pages that initially make =
> them look like heroes, sooner or later, things come crashing down. =
> First, the field engineers scream about how poor the books are. Then =
> the customers themselves find the plagiarism of previous manuals, =
> boatloads of baloney, mountains of misinformation, and reams of =
> non-specific rumination that's supposed to be helpful troubleshooting =
> and maintenance information. Then the customers find to their horror =
> that lack of quality characterizes the product as well as the =
> documentation. Next come the cash flow problems, layoffs, weeping, =
> wailing, and gnashing of teeth. =20
> Tony, if your management insists that hours-per-page is the only way to =
> evaluate writers, take it as a sign from a merciful Creator and update =
> your resume.
> Mike Johnson
> Salt Lake City, Utah =20

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