As part of content development, we recommend assigning authors who can dedicate at least 30 hours a week to the project. The more dedicated authors you have, the faster your content gets developed. We’ve seen customers split the 30 hours among a dozen or so authors in the hopes they’ll add up to one full-time author. We’ve seen customers dedicate six or more full-time authors in the hopes they’ll get the content developed faster and launch Panviva sooner.
While both options worked to get Panviva launched, the process wasn’t as easy as the customers would have liked. Let’s break down the reasons why.
Reason 1: Content Gets Repeated
As procedures are written, there may be times when a step is repeated due to the nature of the procedures. Rather than coming together as a group to decide how that content should be treated (maybe as a separate procedure or reusable content), authors will move forward with writing the content without realizing that someone else may have already written the steps down in another procedure. Rather than communicating with each other, they work in silos, causing more work down the road for the editor and reviewers.
Reason 2: Inconsistent Information
Not only can similar content be repeated, but it can also be inconsistent. Authors who are writing procedures may have different ways in which they phrase each step. This means that one author could have a step written one way, while another has it written in a completely different way. The more authors you have, the more likely this scenario could be. This makes the work harder on the editor and reviewers when it comes time to examine everything that’s been written.
Reason 3: Content Development Plan Is Not Updated
The Content Development Plan is designed to keep track of all of the content that is being built into Panviva. When it is updated correctly, it helps to ensure that goals and timelines are being met. The project manager can look at the data and determine if there are risks to the launch date that need to be addressed. When there are too many authors on the project, the Content Development Plan tends to fall out of sync and the data becomes skewed. Some authors may fill out the plan as requested, while others forget to include it as part of their writing process. It is important to ensure the plan remains updated, otherwise the project manager’s status reports will be incorrect.
Reason 4: Authors Completing Documents At Different Times
Authors write at different speeds. You may have one author cranking out multiple procedures a day, while another one takes a week to write a single procedure. The more authors you have, the more chances there are for an author to lag behind. This means you could have some authors who have procedures out with approvers when their colleague hasn’t even gotten through a first draft. As the launch date inches closer, those authors who are behind schedule find themselves rushing through the process to get their procedures written. This rush can cause information to be missed, steps to be documented incorrectly and procedures to lack in style and format. Your content could become just as inconsistent as it was before acquiring Panviva.
When deciding how many authors to have write your content, be mindful of the risks that can be involved in having too many. We suggest having a plan of attack and making sure the authors have everything they need to succeed.
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