summary: Managing doc in other cities

Subject: summary: Managing doc in other cities
From: Colleen Adams <PD33 -at- MEDISPAN -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 15:00:48 -0500

You guys are FABULOUS! Thank you to all that responded to my post on
managing documentation and writers in other cities. Several of you
asked for a summary. Here goes (in order of importance):

1) The consistent theme in all responses was good communication!
Make sure everyone is working toward common goals and they know
what they are supposed to be doing. Many use weekly status reports
as a means for communicating. Other means included regular
conference calls, video-conferencing and virtual meetings via
cyberspace (for the technically saavy companies), faxes, e-mail, and of
course, frequent visits throughout the year (the more the better). As a
manager, make sure you relay all information across projects to all team
members. They will appreciate it.

2) Be your team's ally and support them. Make their problems your own.
It can be easy for your team to become disheartened if they think you or
your manager are indifferent to their problems.

3) Ensure that everyone's workstation is set up and configured properly.
Productivity and efficiency could be lost trying to work out system
snafus. Also, know who the network administrators are at each location
and be sure management understands you need extra support with
network issues. Try to establish common network drives for good
documentation control.

4) Have your styles and standards in shape. If you have a style guide,
keep it up-to-date. Have one person be responsible for maintaining and
communicating standards to the rest of the team (upon agreement of the

5) On a given project, consider having a "lead" tech writer with other
writers assigned to assist. If you need to peer review each others'
documents, use the revision marking features in Word and Frame so the
remote reviewers can see the proposed changes.

I hope this helps the rest of you out there who are dealing with this type
of arrangement. Thanks again!!

Colleen Adams
External Documentation Supervisor
Medi-Span, Inc.
Indianapolis, IN
colleen_adams -at- medispan -dot- com

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