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Concerning Corporate Keyword Phrases

Layoffs are at an all time high. How do you know if your job is in jeopardy? It is difficult to tell for sure, but we have collected a few phrases from employees and freelancers that may be of interest to you.

 

Here are a few phrases you really don’t want to hear.

 

  • Your department should be immune to the layoffs
  • We want you to bring Sayeed up to speed
  • You got a minute?
  • We are concerned….
  • Stop by my office before you leave today and make sure you bring your coat
  • There is nothing to worry about; you will not be affected by the buyout
  • Salary reviews will be postponed this year
  • Bonuses have been rescinded
  • Furlough
  • There’s no truth to the CFO being indicted
  • Please report to HR ASAP

If you have a phrase you would like to share with us, please do.

 

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Continuity of Business Effort

Writing projects require some management by the technical writer.  Implementing the document life cycle can ensure continuity of effort and more successful writing projects.

 

Freelance writers need to help their clients understand this process prior to starting projects. SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) and other necessary resources should be identified and ready when the technical writer is hired. Sometimes we find the other resources were never identified thus making the continuity of effort more difficult. Of course, there are ways to handle these issues but the more issues that can be avoided the happier the writers and the clients.

 

For example, systems development documentation may require that the technical writer be involved during the time the system is being developed.  Our manufacturing clients have found that having our technical writers involved during the development process improves their bottom line since our writers can work closely with engineers on-site or remotely. If the writer isn’t included during the development phase alternative document life cycles can be implemented. But, of course, like with many things, knowledge is power, so the initial meetings held prior to contracting should discuss these issues.

 

Depending on the document life cycle needed to ensure continuity of business effort a client can determine if the technical writing should be done in-house or utilizing a freelance methodology that suits their documentation needs.  

 

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Insourcing and Jobs in America

The big news on July 3, 2008 was 62,000 jobs lost. This has sparked several discussions on-line and we would like to add our two cents.

 

We will deal with this issue using the alternate definition of the word insourcing, since in theory, everything is possible. Since we are currently in America, this term will refer to transferring jobs to local contractors and facilities that are physically located in the United States of America.

 

This is an election year, and there is talk from both candidates about putting America back to work. Each candidate states their commitment to this but maybe small businesses can lead the charge for their respective industries. With supportive government policies, that are enforced, the number of jobs located in America just might increase.

 

For example, since free trade isn’t always fair trade, how about having product documentation targeted at the American consumer, written in America? Our company has rewritten product guides that were originally written in a country where English was not the first language. It turned out that outsourcing wasn’t appropriate in this case. In short, they had to pay to have the same work done twice. Where is the savings here? We don’t see any and neither do our clients.

 

Supporting policies and infrastructure may assist in avoiding issues like this and promote a win-win for both the corporate bottom line and the American worker. But this is just a theory, and in theory, everything is possible!

 

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Systems and Business Process Writing

Documentation is required for a company to move forward in the development of critical systems and business processes. RUP, UML and SDLC can all come into play here for larger projects so it is good to have a solid analytical and proven methodology for providing quality systems and business documents.

Corporations invest time and money to learn these methodologies and sometimes the benefits and monetary gains are intangible.

Let us say you have a team with expertise in the critical systems and business processes. Their knowledge of the critical systems and processes are accurate and exceeds expectations. The team’s technology skills consist of word processing, spreadsheets and some graphic illustration. From the technical communicator’s point of view, this may very well be a team of SMEs (Subject Matter Experts). The technical communicator with graphic illustration and writing skills can meet with your SMEs and start producing system and business process diagrams after each meeting is completed.

But let us take a closer look at your team. Do they have the time to produce the diagrams? Is there an easy to learn graphics illustration package in-house that a team member can use to illustrate and document the critical paths? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, then this may be a technical communicator project that you can do in-house. If the answer is no, consider a freelance writer to document your critical systems and business path, using the SMEs with a clear understanding of the critical paths.

Clients allocate months for projects that may only need a few weeks if enough thought is put into constructing a documentation solution for a project.

Save time and money by looking at all of your options first.

Sometimes the answers are right in front of your nose!

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The Sixth Phase of the Project

Every project must have an ending rather it is good or bad. For our four week project that should have been six months we now have an unacceptable deliverable but something to start with.

 

Now, it is time to reward the people that didn’t participate in the project. That’s right, this is the reward the non-participant phase.

 

Everyone smart enough or lucky enough not to get involved in the negative aspects of this project will receive a reward. Promotions are in order and celebrations parties are scheduled and work goes on as usual.

 

Hopefully, something is learned from this process and the value of the industry experts will be considered relevant to the project’s success.

Fifth Phase of the Project – Punishment of the Innocent

The guilty have been identified. Management has taken the appropriate action to address employees or vendors that contributed to the demise of this project.

 

The deadline is approaching and management is feverishly meeting with the remaining project team to see what can be done by the deadline date.

 

As long as management continues to take action regarding any issues that impede the project deadline, the better it is for management. No one can mention the mistake that lead to this demise out of fear of being identified as one of the guilty.

 

In addition, management begins to solicit advice and information from people outside of the project team. The objective is to tap every resource available as the deadline approaches. The project is far from perfect but something is always better than nothing.