Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Hubris of the Production Guy

A.C. produces our proposals—printing, binding, preparing CD versions, shipping, and so forth.

At yesterday’s team building session, we each had an opportunity to speak (among other things) about what our co-workers could do to make our individual jobs easier.

A.C. said that when he produces a proposal he expects to replace pages that are smudged, printed off kilter, blurry, etc. He then added, “But I don’t expect to spot errors when a proposal reaches production.”

Well, excuse the rest of us for living, A.C.!

First, there’s no such thing as an error-free proposal. That’s one reason we have the page-by-page book review step just before proposals are queued for shipping.

Second, and more important—much more important—is the fact that for a variety of systemic weaknesses, we can’t get a handle on version control. Specifically, despite the best quality control/review efforts of editing, graphics, desktop publishing, and proposal coordination, proposal managers and senior reviewers can—and do—go into many documents and screw them up after they’re designated as “final.” And there is no time for any of the rest of us to review post-final revisions.

It must be quite a burden being perfect, A.C.