Re: San Diego: Training availability?

Subject: Re: San Diego: Training availability?
From: TALKLIST -at- AOL -dot- COM
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 14:11:59 EST

In a message dated 98-02-19 14:50:23 EST, Kathy writes:

<< We don't have an extraordinary budget for this >>

Without knowing what Kathy considers an "extraordinary budget," I'm going to
indulge myself in a little rant. As a consultant, I'm presently preparing a
budget that includes customized training (not on these topics, however) so
I'm super sensitive to the subject and the costs involved.

Kathy mentioned that she wants *customized* training on very technical topics
but doesn't want to have to pay much money. With all due respect, isn't this
exactly what we as tech writers, decry about management's attitude toward us?

According to JoAnn Hackos, it takes 40 hours of preparation to deliver 1 hour
of classroom training. Let's assume, for discussion sake, that the 7 topics
that Kathy mentioned can be covered in 1 hour each. That will take 280 hours
of preparation. At a consulting fee of only $100 per hour, that's $28,000. For
the faint of heart who don't believe they are worth that much, cut it in half
and make it $14,000. I hope that this is AT LEAST what Kathy considers in the
ballpark of "not too much money."

Please understand that this is not a personal slam against Kathy. I'm sure she
has a limited budget and yet is obviously concerned about improving her own
level of professionalism as well as that of her staff (or colleagues). I'm
concerned that, as tech writers, we give a "sister profession" equal respect.

I suggest a proposal for management that highlights the improved productivity
as a percentage of the salaries (and benefits and overhead associated with
personnel costs in her company) that that will come from this customized
training. Then sell the training on a cost/benefit basis discussing the
standard 10% to 20% useful knowledge vs 100% useful knowledge of a customized

If you give the instructor the financial resources and the time to prepare an
outstanding course, you can count on getting your money's worth. Expert
knowledge *and* the ability to teach are a rare combination. You should expect
to pay for it.

*end of rant*

Joely Beatty

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