Monday, August 12, 2013

Best practices for managing writing projects

For more than 500 posts, I’ve talked about how to write – and I hope I have helped you learn to write more clearly and with less effort. Today I want to talk about something that is often more difficult than the writing: the management of a writing project.

If you work alone, management is pretty simple. But if you work in a company or a non-profit organization, and are part of a team that’s developing a lengthy document, you know how difficult and frustrating that can be. Especially if you are asked to take the lead. It’s not easy to coordinate the activities of subject-matter experts, input sources, writers, reviewers, editors and designers – all while trying to control costs and protect quality.

Believe me, I sympathize. I have managed hundreds of writing projects. Over the years, mostly for self-preservation, I kept a record of the practices that seemed to work best. Eventually I summarized these best practices in a 12-page special report. Here are the section heads:
Assessing Your Position in Office Politics
Making an Orderly Start to Your Project
Hiring a Contract Writer
Making the Assignment
Attending the Interviews
Reviewing the Outline
Reviewing Draft 1 of the Text
Keeping Meddlers out of the Review
Reviewing Draft 3 of the Text
Cleaning Up
Although I wrote the report for the development of marketing documents, most of it applies to all kinds of documents. It will probably help you.

If you would like a copy (pdf), please email me at joeroy(at)joeroy(dot)com. Ask for my “Best Practices Special Report.” I will respond via email.

The Takeaway: If you want to create better documents at lower cost, pay attention to methodology. If you use poor practices, you will lengthen your turnaround time, waste manpower, multiply your costs, and degrade quality. If you use best practices, you will dramatically cut your turnaround time, conserve manpower, reduce your costs, noticeably increase quality, prevent frustration, and build goodwill. It can make you a hero.

See disclaimer.

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