While working on a major collaborative assignment, the writing team should first learn how to coordinate their tasks, by outlining a working model. The most common strategy is to assign at least two roles to each individual teammate, one can be related to writing and the other role related to the post-production, such as editing, scheduling, monitoring, etc.
This requires a high degree of professional conduct and interconnectivity of thoughts on behalf of everybody in the team. The most important thing to note is that, even if the roles of writing could be clearly chalked out, the other role could be flexible and overlapping.
In a collaborative writing structure, no person can be the sole partaker of any responsibility. An entire team can also be divided into sub-teams with specific roles such as −
- Writer − All members in this team are responsible for writing and completing the document.
- Group Leader − This group is responsible for the coordination of the team, scheduling and organization of actions.
- Editor − This group will take responsibility to edit, insert style and proofread the documents, either in intervals or after the final document’s submission.
- Graphics Designer − This group is responsible for designing illustrations and the layout of hardcopy and Web printing of the document.
- Subject Matter Specialist − This group takes care of researching on a topic and providing answers to queries of the team. They proofread the technical portions of the document for accuracy.
- Webmaster − This team puts the contents of the document on the website and maintains it.
Determining which team member is fit for which job is the preliminary stage of any collaborative writing. In the first meeting itself, the members of the team get together and discuss their backgrounds and which areas they will be most comfortable working in. The team leader takes a note of the members’ technical writing skills, background, editing process and experience.
In subsequent meetings, the team outlines the project, delegates responsibilities and asks for submitting weekly informal progress reports in next meeting onwards. The team members can switch roles of note taking during subsequent meetings.