Re: clarification--Managing writers in other cities

Subject: Re: clarification--Managing writers in other cities
From: Pete Margaritis <chief -at- NCMS1 -dot- CB -dot- LUCENT -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 1998 13:11:40 -0500

Colleen Adams wrote:
> Clarification: I should have titled this e-mail "Managing
> DOCUMENTATION in other cities." I'm looking for overall
> suggestions, not just those relating to managing the people.
> My company has recently merged with our biggest competitor.
> Has anyone else out there managed people and teams that were across
> the country? What have been your experiences?
> I'd appreciate ANY help!! It's a positive problem to have,
> so I'm not complaining...just need a little advice.
> Colleen Adams
> External Documentation Supervisor
> Medi-Span, Inc.
> Indianapolis, IN
> colleen_adams -at- medispan -dot- com


Working for Lucent, I totally understand what you are going through.
Our documentation team has, up until recently, been working
out of Central Ohio. Our project though, is moving to the United
Kingdom, with two sites in England, and one in Ireland taking over
the entire product line, including of course, documentation.

The British documentation supervisor will be in charge of the
entire operation. He's a good friend of mine (I handle the
U.S. team), and we've talked extensively about the problems

Some points to keep in mind...

1) Communication is vital. Talk to your people. Often.
Make sure all the sites are working together towards the
common goal. Visit as often as possible. Naturally, John
will be able to visit the other English site and the Irish
complex (no pun intended) much more often; but ours is as
much as (if not more) important than the other three. So
he will have to stay in touch with us as well.

2) Make sure your people know what they must do. Be sure
you both understand their work assignments, target
dates, and means to get to them.

3) Make their problems your own. It's very easy to get
disheartened (no matter how much propaganda you're exposed
to) when you think that your boss (or theirs) is indifferent
to your problems, or will not support your decisions/opinions.
Support your people. Let them know you do.

4) Look towards the idea of a common center (someday) if
at all possible for all this to be done. Common tools
(including software), policies, procedures, work habits
are paramount. If you can't physically come together
some day in the future, at least
try the concept (and plan for) one where you are all
joined together in spirit, at least. Internet, L/D phones,
and other rapid comms eases the burden there.

Hope I've helped.

Pete Margaritis
Technical Writer
Columbus Team, User Documentation
Lucent Technologies
Columbus, OH
chief -at- ncms1 -dot- cb -dot- lucent -dot- com

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