Today we received feedback from the translators in Paris, who had some suggestions and questions about the text we sent them two weeks ago. ‘Translator’ is the only well-defined role on our team, and I think our failure to create other task-orientated roles has been the biggest mistake we have made so far.
The role of project manager was filled – but not defined – early on. The project manager has been excellent at establishing deadlines, and is also good at creating data-sharing platforms. However, the tasks have been divvied out indiscriminately, with everyone else doing a little of everything, and having responsibility for nothing.
The result is a Frankenstein of a document, made up of different parts of different people’s work. No one can be too happy with this: the project manager has had to do a lot of time-consuming stitching together of bits and pieces, while the rest of the team point to problems but do not feel empowered to take action. Much work will also have to be duplicated in order to ensure consistency in writing style, images, and highlighting techniques.
I believe that part of this problem results from the project manager’s view of the project as a text-generating exercise, rather than an information design project. However, the rest of us must share most of the blame here: we have shied away from taking on roles and responsibility. If, as I suspect, we have done this in order to avoid criticism or taking risks, then this kind of ‘CYA‘ activity has left us all exposed.
(Image: Frankenstein’s Monster (Boris Karloff) / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain)