Re: Outsourcing of Technical Writers Employment

Subject: Re: Outsourcing of Technical Writers Employment
From: "Sherry Michaels" <sherry -dot- michaels -at- docntrain -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 2005 10:01:32 -0700

My observation is that if a project is high risk, high visibility, it will
stay in-house with some consulting added for extra measure.

Otherwise, it is outsourced here in the U.S. if there's not enough internal
staff (partially due to horrendous lay offs) and inexpensive labor overseas
simply doesn't fit the bill.

If it's routine, no-brainer stuff and the company has a group that can do it
for half the price overseas, or if the group overseas demonstrates as good
skills with little learning curve and minimal ramp up, that's what they'll

It's about what makes business sense, when it's done properly. It's about
poor decision making when it is not done properly (a sign of poor decision
making is when they send it overseas and then bring it back because they
didn't think about some of the issues all the way through). The overseas
talent is getting better, and their companies are getting better about the
ramp up and the learning curves. The inexpensive alternative is getting more
professional all the time. Like here in the U.S., however, they are running
into a contraction of just how much good talent there is to meet the levels
of work that are available. Remember, not everyone can write, and not
everyone wants to!

Our best approach as professionals (all of us) is to keep developing our
skills in terms of depth and breadth, and keep making good strategic
decisions about our next job or gig. An eye on the market and how business
people are making decisions is a really good idea, no matter what you do.

<<My observations from two companies is that they'll attempt to outsource
new stuff rather than expand the existing force. In both instances, they
ended up bringing it back inhouse and adding the resources>>

Sherry Michaels
Michaels & Associates
11639 E. Wethersfield Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85259
480-614-8440 Local
877-614-8440 Toll free
480-614-2775 FAX


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