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Subject:Graphic design use From:"Phillips, Warren D (Warren)** CTR **" <phillipsw -at- LUCENT -dot- COM> Date:Thu, 24 Sep 1998 12:03:28 -0400
Mary Lynn Kostash stated:
> Yes, writers have to be flexible--especially in a small company.
> However, there are limits. It's reasonable to expect me to be able
> to create decent simple illustrations. However, I should not be expected
> to produce professional graphic art, simply because I do not have the
> artistic skills of a graphic designer. Sure, if I plug away long enough,
> maybe I can create some graphics, but they will look like the work of an
> amateur. If your company *must* have graphics, and there's no one in the
> company that can create them, then they should either hire an artist, or
> go to a graphic design company to have the work done. Otherwise, it's
> probably better to not have the graphics at all, then to have them done
Underlying this is a bigger problem, and issues to be defined.
#1 - What is the desired output? This should be explicitly and
clearly defined with metrics that we can use to determine if we are
achieving the goal.
#2 - What process (best practices) do we want to use that can
achieve the desired output?
#3 - What skills and attitudes must the members of the team apply,
to make the process work? This is where jobs, roles and responsibilities
are defined. Will we use graphic artists, or can this role be assumed
within another job - such that desired output is achieved?
#4 -What are the constraints - budget, schedule, available talent.
#5 - What are the expectations - of management, of customers,
of team members.
#6 - What performance support system needs to be in place to allow
team members to achieve #1,2,3 within the context of #4,5?
People performing graphics work should have the required proficiency,
to achieve the end result.
It seems that most organizations have assigned a person by title (e.g.
technical writer) and that title carries with it an undefined expectation
work. Combine that with a vague definition of work output - and it is no
surprise that quality suffers. Also, people working in that environment
suffer frustration or worse.
Unfortunately - this is common.
The above issues apply to all situations, whether it is a one person
department or a large multi-functional team.
So the question is not - is it best to have technical writers doing
graphics? The real question is - how are we going to do this as a
team in order to achieve the desired output? And how can we make
the whole process better? And how do we get the whole team
(including management) to come to the same understanding.
I have worked these issues in several companies - and there are no easy
Training & Documentation Consultant
phillips -at- lucent -dot- com