Re: Reduce page count WAS Re: secretary's day

Subject: Re: Reduce page count WAS Re: secretary's day
From: David Somers <somersd -at- NATLAB -dot- RESEARCH -dot- PHILIPS -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 28 Apr 1998 09:46:08 +0200

John Posada wrote:
> Interestingly, this was also a site where a Project Leader reviewed one
> of my drafts and came back with the comment that it was all very good,
> but could I reduce the page count by 50%. Good grief!
> Well, could you?

Sure... a few snips here and there.

Also I used a dirty trick... the first draft was printed single sided...
the next draft that I presented was duplexed.

> Ya know...when I read this, I didn't see anything wrong with the request to
> reduce page count.

It depends on the motives behind the request... and his review consisted
only of looking at the number of pages produced... he didn't actually
read it!

> I've found that most times, there are issues in a project that are bigger
> than any one particular instance. There may have been a good reason for
> this, and sometimes we don't know what the reason is and it's none of our
> business (maybe the manual simply had to be under a certain weight to keep
> shipping cost under X amount to comply with budget.) In fact, I WISH that
> some of the manuals on my desk from other vendors had been reduced by 50%.

In my specific case, it was purely political. When my quality and level
of output was compared with that of the permies doing similar work, the
difference was very noticeable... and contractors can't show up the

As for your comment 'and its none of our business', I strongly disagree
with that. If a manger has a problem with a document, he should provide
justification for demanding drastic changes, and not present a demand
with explanation... its that kind of lack of communication that leads to
a breakdown of communication and trust between managers and staff.

For example, you say that maybe the size of the manual had to be under a
certain size for shipping and production reasons. If that was the case,
then I would expect a manager to state that limiting factor from day
one, and not when the first draft appears.

(Usual disclaimer applies)
David Somers
Philips Research Laboratories [Mailstop WAY 3.34],
Prof. Holstlaan 4, 5656 AA Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Phone: +31-40-2743878; Email: somersd -at- natlab -dot- research -dot- philips -dot- com

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