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I would not be surprised if this was closed because it isn't considered constructive. So lets all dispense with the fanboi comments. I have read a few of the posts on this site. I am in a struggle with my employer. We have to compile three training manuals for the users of a major 3rd party application. This application is produced by a major software vendor. Our in-house manuals are produced by our group, and are geared toward the way our organization use the app. I have shown my boss what the manuals can look like if written using LaTeX (MikTeX).

He is un-impressed, and is able to deflate my arguments for LaTeX with the following comment.

These manuals need to be written collaboratively; by all four of us. I don’t have time to learn to us another word processor, and neither does the rest of the group. Word is what we have, and will use. The IT crowd here will not install this on our machines. These need to be written using the default software installed on these machines. I don’t care how nice they can look, how easy they are [for you] to update. I don’t care how simplistic it is to update the style and transpose that among all of our documents.

Does anyone have a convincing rebuttal to this kind of thinking? It sounds like the “my hands are tied, “argument.

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closed as not constructive by tohecz, percusse, Werner, zeroth, Thorsten Apr 16 '12 at 16:59

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I do not want to sound harsh, but I would never try to force my collaborators or even employer to use LaTeX. And as for this question being closed, I think it will get closed as it is "more a discussion than a question" and I don't think it can be satisfyingly answered. –  tohecz Apr 16 '12 at 15:53
I agree with @tohecz and as usual learning and switching completely to TeX manuals do not bring tangible financial benefit unless there is a competition going on with other companies solely based on client satisfaction. Most of the cases, it would increase the time costs due to the bugs in packages etc. I would certainly recommend staying away for your own good :) –  percusse Apr 16 '12 at 16:13

1 Answer 1

up vote 38 down vote accepted

Your employer is right

IMO your employer is not totally wrong. The customer pays him to deliver a product. The most straightforward way that leads to a result is to use the tools one is familiar with. And using familiar tools the results are usually quick and good, since the features and peculiarities of the tools are known.

I understand your employers objection that learning a new system will not pay off. How can he know that? Did you prove it to him in any way? He is a business man and changing the tools is a risk for him.

Address his business concerns

If you want to introduce a TeX system at work (which is a fantastic idea, don't get me wrong), you should address his business concerns. He doesn't care about the quality; proving TeX has a better quality will not lead to anything. If you tell him, the company can save money because the manual can be written and kept up-to-date in less time, he will be interested.

However, it's a big risk for him to change the workflow right before a critical project. It's easier to convince him with a smaller non-critical project (e.g. in-house documentation). Estimate how much time the creation and maintenance of small project X would cost if done in Word and estimate the cost for a TeX solution, which, of course, has to be less; and if he agrees and you succeed with project X, you proved that you were right and probably gained his interest also for larger projects.

If he disagrees even for a small project, I think there's not much you can do.

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Thanks. This answer and these comments are what I needed, and ultimatly, expected. Thank all for taking the time to provide your input. –  TheSavo Apr 16 '12 at 16:25
First-class, practical answer. –  Brent.Longborough Apr 16 '12 at 16:37

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