Thursday, April 9, 2009

Persona non grata V: Sisyphus reporting in

For the current proposal, I developed (based on the Request for Proposal) an extensive list of acronyms and key terms. The list represents the style to be used by the writers.

Among the acronyms are a number that don't need to be spelled out even on first occurrence; they're that well known to the proposal reviewers.

I started editing the proposal today, completing the executive summary and one section of the technical proposal. It took about six hours, at least half of which were devoted to cleaning up the acronym mess—that is, spelling items out the first time they appear. (I bet you're getting tired of reading that. Me too.)

As I was wrapping up my work, I mentioned to the proposal coordinator that the writers had not, despite my list, spelled out many items at all. She told me that the proposal manager had given his writers a list of about twenty acronyms that could stand on their own.

I had to go back through the documents to undo much of my work; for about another hour.

Neither the proposal manager (a contractor) nor the proposal coordinator (a coworker) gave a thought to yours truly—who is responsible for ensuring consistency)—and the fact that his style decisions and list would have an impact on the editing process.

The rock gets heavier and the hill steeper—exponentially every single day.