Bill Hackos, Comtech Services

No, we don’t really want your organization. We just want to know how your group is organized. We are updating our organization White paper and we need your input. In the days before the world became flat we classified writing groups as centralized or distributed. If you have ever been involved in a management discussion with JoAnn or me you know what these terms mean. Now with a history of acquisition, outsourcing, offshoring, and other collaboration, things are getting complicated.

We have developed a graphical scheme to represent departmental organization for writing groups. We would greatly appreciate it if you could take a few minutes to graphically illustrate how your group is organized, using our graphics scheme. We will use your information to produce statistics for our report but will keep numbers, locations, and company names confidential. We will give a summary of our findings on a future issue of the e-newsletter and at the Best Practices 2006 Conference in September. If you take part and provide us with your data, we will send you a PDF copy of our revised white paper at no charge when it is complete. We will be collecting data until August 15, 2006. After that date we will not collect any more data, so get it to us soon.

Here is our graphics scheme.

Please use these codes:

VP: Vice President

D: Director

M: Information-Development Manager

TM: Training Manager

W: Writer

E: Editor

TR: Trainer

TD: Training Developer

PD: Product Developer

PM: Project Manager

PRM: Product Manager

IA: Information Architect

DM: Development Manager

Feel free to add any codes that you need that are not on this list.

Use a solid circle to represent a country

Use a dashed circle to represent a site within a country

Use a dotted circle to represent a location within a site

Use a solid arrow to represent supervision

Use a dotted arrow to represent contact

Feel free to add graphical constructs to make your organization clear.

Use a small circle with a number and a code to represent a person or multiple people with the number code representing job function and the number before the code to represent how many people with that job function.

See what we mean by the following examples.

This first example represents an organization with sites in Santa Cruz, CA, Lowell, MA, and Dallas, TX. The director resides in Santa Cruz and manages a manager and information architect in Santa Cruz as well as a manager in Lowell and 2 writers in Dallas. The manager in Santa Cruz manages eight writers residing with him or her, and 3 writers who are co-located with 4 developers in Santa Cruz. The manager in Lowell manages 4 writers in Lowell as well as a project manager in Bangalore, India. The Indian project manager manages 9 writers in Bangalore. In addition the graphic shows that training is managed under a different director in Phoenix with a training manager who manages 3 training developers and 2 trainers in Dallas. In this organization, training and information development are managed independently.

The second example represents a site in Mt. View, CA with three product development groups. In two of the groups, writers for the product are managed by a product manager rather than a documentation manager. In the third group the writer is managed by a product developer. The writers in the three groups are isolated from each other in a completely distributed organization.

If you are interested in joining our effort, please get your organization to us by August 15, 2006. We prefer that you send the graphics to us in a Visio or PDF format, but we are happy to get them as faxes or snail mail as well. Make sure that you identify a contact and provide his or her email address so we can send you the report.

Send your emails to . Send your faxes to 303-232-0659. You can also mail us at: CIDM, 710 Kipling Street, Suite 400, Denver, CO 80215