Re: Centralized vs. Decentralized tech writers

Subject: Re: Centralized vs. Decentralized tech writers
From: Elna Tymes <etymes -at- LTS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1998 11:32:40 -0700

Heather Ross wrote:

> The group of TWs here is currently looking at the benefits/drawbacks of
> organizing ourselves into one Technical Communications department. I'd be
> very interested in hearing about the experiences of you folks -- what do
> you see as the pros and cons of being centralized into one department,
> versus each being dedicated to one area of the company?

Prior to and in between bouts of being a contractor, I was Pubs Manager at a
series of companies, some of whom had the centralized approached, and one which
didn't. I heartily recommend the centralized approach, mostly because it
allows a kind of matrix organization: the pubs group can be in charge of all
the craft-related details, and share resources related to publications, but
each each writer can be assigned to a department or project so that the
department or project can feel a sense of ownership of the resource.

If you've been the lone writer in a new engineering group, you know the
problems involved in educating the project group as to the importance of timely
reviews, freezing code at certain points relative to the document production
cycle, and the use of outlines and schedules. Having a pubs group to fall back
on means that the lone writer doesn't have to continually educate new project
groups with no support from elsewhere. Makes life a whole lot easier.

Elna Tymes
Los Trancos Systems

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