Productivity of less than 20 words an hour is common – that’s less than approx. 15 lines of text per day.
Productivity levels like this don’t mean your writers aren’t working, but they do mean something is wrong with your process.
Typically, the major problem is rework - repetitive changes being made to “finished” documentation due to changes in the underlying project. Rework is frustrating for everyone - to the company it's a waste of money, and to the writer it's irritating and demotivational. Rework typically stems in turn from starting a process - in this case the documentation effort - too early.
Rework problems are usually made worse by a lack of methodology - you’d never accept the ad hoc way most documentation teams work in your engineering or system development teams.
I can help you get started by analyzing your documentation productivity. And once you've documented your productivity level, you'll almost certainly have a justified case for making process improvements!
Thereafter I can apply our know-how in both documentation and LEAN to analyze your processes, define metrics, recommend process improvements and methodologies, and define a long-term strategy for your documentation function.
-I can also introduce you to a tried and successful method that not only improves documentation productivity without reducing quality, but also improves working conditions for your team.
Too good to be true? Read here for a taste of how it's done!
A LEAN process for documentation
Studies have shown that the large amount of rework in producing documentation means that over the lifetime of a project, the final output of trained technical writers is often less than 20 words an hour - that’s less than approx. 15 lines of text per day!
Typically the major reason for this low productivity is rework is repetitive changes to “finished” documentation. The root cause of these changes is usually that the documentation effort was started too early.
Recipe for improved productivity
I can introduce you to a tried and successful method that not only improves documentation productivity without reducing quality, but also improves working conditions for the team.
The secret behind the success of the solution is a fundamental change in the way that the documentation team works with its projects. The solution is based on not dedicating an individual writer to a given project, but stringently managing documentation tasks in a first-in first-out process, and pooling resources to support this.
In effect, this lowers the service level that a project is getting from the documentation team - and here you have your explanation for productivity levels under 20 words an hour - excessive service!
Curbing excessive service does not reduce quality, but it does improve both productivity and working conditions for the team.
What you can do to get started...
Once you've documented your productivity level, you'll almost certainly have a justified case for making process improvements!
It's often surprisingly easy to clarify productivity. Call for some free input on how to do this!