Documentation plans–Staffing

The staffing section answers the “Who?” questions.

Several tips about this section:

  • When you have lists of names, such as for reviewers or testers, list people in alpha order so it’s clear you’re not making a judgment on their relative worth to the project.
  • Names can and frequently do appear in more than one section. Someone responsible for approval is certainly also going to be a reviewer, possibly a tester, probably a source material expert. The project editor may also be the copy editor, the proofreader, and the production coordinator.
  • If you have a lot of names in a section, consider building a table to show who’s doing what.

Author(s) Enter the names of all the authors and contributors and the chapters/sections they’re responsible for. If you have a lot of authors, make a table.

Project Editor Who’s coordinating the editing? This is the person you’re going to be dealing with at the publisher, so they’ll tell you who it is.

Copy Editor Who’s doing the copyediting? Usually determined by the publisher.

Proofreader Who’s doing the proofreading? Usually determined by the publisher.

Indexer Who’s doing the indexing? Usually determined by the publisher.

Designer Who is designing the book? Always determined by the publisher.

Production Coordinator Who’s coordinating the production?

Layout Will there be a special layout person? Usually determined by the publisher. If you’re responsible for layout, put your name here.

Art Coordinator Who’s coordinating any outside art issues? Always determined by the publisher.

Graphic Artist Who is doing the graphics? (Depending on the project, you may also have an illustrator or photographer.) Usually determined by the publisher.

Source Material Experts Depending on the project, you may want to identify your source material experts up front so they can budget their time. This can also be done as part of the detailed outline, listing the SMEs for each chapter or section.

Reviewers For books, the publisher will frequently identify someone as an outside reviewer, but most are willing to look at people you suggest. For a document, you’ll want to pick the internal reviewers based on who has a hand in the thing you’re writing about. If possible, get reviewers for overall content and style, technical accuracy, and standards and format. Reviewers can appear in more than one category.

Testers Enter the names of the people who will be testing what you’re writing. Not everything requires testing, of course, but a lot more requires testing than you might think. For example, everything in any how-to/DIY book on any subject needs to be tested. There have been cookbooks that weren’t 100% tested that had errors in the recipes that made them unusable (and really unpleasant).

Individuals Responsible for Approval You may not need this section for a book, but you will if this documentation plan is for a technical manual. Enter the one and only name in each category who is the final signoff authority for each type of review (as described under Reviewers). Never let yourself be approved by a committee; your spleen will implode during the process.

Instructors If this is a project for a specific group of instructors, you may want to list the instructors by name here.

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