Past Webinars

  • Recorded: March 15, 2018 The OASIS DITA Adoption TC is pleased to announce Keith Schengili-Roberts presentation on DITA Worst Practices. While people are interested in hearing about successes, we can actually learn more from failure. Not only do we discover what not to do, but also how to avoid the circumstances that led to it. DITA Adoption Chairperson Keith Schengili-Roberts has seen a lot of good and bad things happen to DITA implementations over the years, and part of his job is to investigate what works, what doesn’t, and why. This presentation is designed as an instructive and humorous lesson on what *not* to do when implementing DITA within a documentation team. From constraints that went too far, management decisions that went awry to quixotic tool decisions, Keith will cover DITA tales that are both funny and horrifying. Listen to his best (worst) DITA practices! Presented by: The OASIS DITA Adoption Technical Committee Keith Schengili-Roberts, OASIS DITA Adoption Committee Chairperson / IXIASOFT Keith is a DITA Specialist at IXIASOFT, DITA evangelist and technical writing nerd. Keith is also an award-winning lecturer on Information Architecture at the University of Toronto's iSchool, and Durham College. He is also an active member of the OASIS DITA Technical Committee, and can often be found presenting at conferences, working with customers, and researching how DITA is being used and sharing those results with the DITA community. Keith's popular industry blog DITAWriter.com has become a focal point on DITA resources and best practices. Connect with Keith on Twitter @KeithIXIASOFT.
  • Say Yes

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    Recorded: January 30, 2018 Borrowing the title of Fisher and Ury’s popular work, this session suggests strategies and invites conversation around the challenge of negotiating with your business partners—no matter who they are in your organization. In today’s environment, our technical content organizations are continually asked to support additional services with fewer team members. But doing more with less simply isn’t always possible. Informing a business partner that you cannot support a request can spark a fraught conversation, but adding more to your plate might risk sending your team into overload. Even asking for trust in your decisions as the authority in your area can be tough. Yet these conversations don’t have to become uncomfortable, and can instead provide an opportunity for dialog leading to mutual gains. You can get what your team needs, draw boundaries, and inspire confidence at the same time. Within the context of technical content’s organizational position and business value, this session will cover core negotiation strategies that achieve win-win outcomes and how to avoid zero-sum exchanges. Since relationships are key, we’ll discuss how to identify allies and when to call on them. Finally, we’ll address the inevitable question of data—seemingly irrefutable information that can turn opinion into hard fact. Presented by: Jill Orofino, DellEMC California born and raised, Jill attended UCLA where she received her B.A. in English, and then pursued graduate studies at Boston University. Jill went on to teach at BU for seven years before moving into high tech. Technical content development, research and writing made up the most of Jill’s teaching experience. Jill loves to learn new things and help others reach their goals. Five years into her career in technical content, Jill assumed leadership of a technical writing team at a Boston start-up called Acme Packet. Management was another natural extension of teaching, championing staff members and motivating them. Jill started at EMC (now Dell EMC) about five years ago, bringing with her a focus on customer experience and a drive for simplicity. Jill led the global technical content teams that support core storage for four years before taking a role in Product Marketing. Jill is now exploring a new part of the content ecosystem and its relationship to the unified customer experience.
  • Recorded: January 18, 2018 The experts will discuss the evidence of trends for more SME-authored content, and investigate the forces driving the trend. They will also share good practices for safeguarding quality content and efficient production when more and more documentation is written by people outside of the information development team. They will also discuss potential benefits to using more SMEs, and raise some questions around the real cost of using SMEs to author content. What does it mean for the tech writing profession if “anyone can write technical documentation”? If you feel as though you have to fight to have information development specialists write your content, come and hear how others are experiencing changing patterns of content development. Share good practice regarding handling SME-authored content as we look for ways to build collaboration without sacrificing standards and efficiencies. Discuss how to leverage your Information Developer experience and skills when folks from other teams are writing content, and brainstorm with the panel the new skill sets we must nurture to be successful in a collaborative environment. Presented by: Sharon Figueira, Toni Mantych and Joe Pennachio Sharon Figueira has eighteen years’ experience as a technical communicator. For the past few years, the main focus of my career has been DITA XML, content management, and migrating content into DITA and a CCMS. My team won the RFQ to migrate Ericsson’s content to a DITA XML/CCMS solution. Since then, we have migrated thousands of pages of content, performing pre-migration analysis, restructuring content, maximizing reuse, and producing variant output. Sharon recently joined IXIASOFT, a leader in the content management software industry. Toni Mantych describes her professional purpose and passion as “Solving client problems with content, and content problems with technology.” She is currently Director of Information Experience at ServiceNow. She has taught numerous courses in the graduate Technical and Professional Communications program as Portland State University and speaks regularly at content industry conferences. Joe Pennachio is a skilled professional with experience building and directing technical teams globally. Significant strategic and operational experience with a strong bias towards executing organization-wide transformation, achieving increased efficiency, and reducing cost. Proven ability for identifying and analyzing critical customer and business needs and implementing change. Joe joined QUALCOMM in January of 2016 as a Senior Director of Technical Communications.
  • Recorded: July 1, 2015

    We talk a big game: DITA helps you reuse content with ease. Business cases are built on this promise, but many find the goal elusive. It seems to take just as much effort to manage reusable content as it did to simply copy and paste it. Sure, we might have missed some versions of that content in subsequent updates, but now we can destroy someone else’s deliverables by unwittingly changing content they were reusing. The problems are different, but the impact is the same, as we fail to realize the promised benefits and cost savings. At least in the “good old days” we understood what we were doing – Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V, and voila! Everyone could do it! Now we struggle with the difference between a keyref and conkeyref, we can’t decide whether to use a conditional attribute or a key, and we have never even made a conref push work, let alone find an application for it. Why isn’t DITA delivering on its reuse promises in so many organizations? In this presentation, Dawn Stevens asserts that the promises can indeed be met, but you must use the right tool for the job. Dawn provides guidance for choosing the appropriate reuse mechanism in the DITA standard as she compares and contrasts each feature, including the forthcoming 1.3 capabilities of scoped keys and branch filtering.

    Presented by: Dawn Stevens, Comtech Services, Inc.

    Dawn Stevens is a Senior Consultant specializing in information development, instructional design, and management consulting. With 25 years of experience, including 13 years at Comtech, Dawn has practical experience in virtually every role within a documentation and training department, including project management, instructional design, writing, editing, and multimedia programming. With both engineering and technical communication degrees, Dawn combines a solid technical foundation with strong writing and design skills to identify and remove the challenges her clients face in producing usable, technical information and training.

  • Recorded: September 30, 2015 Ericsson has made many attempts over the years to overhaul its documentation structure. It’s no easy task, though, to come to consensus across such a large and diverse company. Learn how eight development units spread over eight time zones developed a new global information model for a large-scale DITA implementation project. Fiona explains how it began, the challenges met and overcome, and where the project goes next. Presented by: Fiona Hanington, Ericsson Fiona is an information architect at Ericsson. Her main responsibility over the past 18 months has been to lead the development of Ericsson’s global information model for customer documentation, in preparation for a move to DITA and a CCMS. During this process, she learned many things, not the least of which is how to transition from a deep sleep to a cheery “good morning” in 5-seconds flat for regular overseas conference calls. Concurrently, Fiona has been completing her long-awaited MLIS.
  • Recorded: October 29, 2015 Were you taught how to write a classical five-paragraph essay in elementary school? Did you ever learn about beginning paragraphs with topic sentences? Do you know that legal documents like contracts have standard sections in a standard order? Do you think action steps should be in the order they are performed? If none of these structures are new to you, you already know something about structured writing. Yet, the thought of moving to writing with a consistent, prescribed, and semantic structure often strikes fear into the hearts of technical writers and subject-matter experts alike. In this webinar, learn why structured authoring is essential to clear and consistent communication. Consider why using a semantic structure enhances the quality of your writing while also making it available for repurposing and retrieval. Rather than considering structure something to avoid, think of it as something to embrace to make your writing more understandable for your readers. And, consider ways to help those who resist a move to structure to understand its benefits by providing them with a supportive authoring environment. Presented by: JoAnn Hackos, Comtech Services Dr. JoAnn Hackos is President of Comtech Services, a content-management and information-design firm based in Denver, Colorado, which she founded in 1978. She is Director of the Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM), a membership organization focused on content-management and information-development best practices. Dr. Hackos and colleagues are called upon by corporate executives worldwide to consult on strategies for content management, development and organizational management, product interface design, customer studies, Web and traditional information architecture, and tools and technology selection.
  • Recorded: December 16, 2015 Case study of Cray Inc. Technical Publications department moving from producing pdfs from 5 different sources to converting to XML DITA and working within a CCMS. From there, content is published to the Pubs portal and available as dynamic content. Geared for anyone in Technical Publications looking to get past creating pdfs in their system. This webinar will briefly cover the conversion and detail the efforts to get to the portal as well as the preparation necessary to accommodate dynamic content. It is assumed attendees are familiar with DITA as an XML model (intimate knowledge is not necessary), are considering implementing XML DITA, or have been working in DITA. Anyone looking for what happens after an XML DITA conversion and what moving forward looks like will gain insights into how to harness the potency of DITA and deliver content in multiple outputs. Presented by: Peggy Sanchez, Cray Inc. Peggy Sanchez is the current Tech Pubs Manager for Cray Inc. She has a degree in Scientific and Technical Communication and a Masters in Management of Technology. She was a tech writer for 10 years and a Pubs manager for 5. She joined Cray as an agent of change to bring in a DITA implementation and create scalability within the department. Peggy lives in St. Paul and is raising four backyard chickens, Pearl, Lily, Chloe, and Pinky.
  • Recorded: April 19, 2016 In this presentation, we embark upon re-thinking the entire content production cycle, and we use The Toyota Way as our philosophy. Expect fun and engaging conversation that will make you question some or all of the time-honoured content production processes and to start looking for waste. We will discuss the Lean principles in Japanese car manufacturing and apply them to content production. We will debate that not only can this be done today, but also that it can be done well. Finally, we will look how using Lean together with a good quality DITA/CMS solution can lead to incredible results in reducing production time and costs, improving team morale, and achieving superior product quality. By product, we, of course, mean content output.

    Presented by: Nenad Furtula, Bluestream and Galyna Key, Datix

    Nenad Furtula is partner and a VP of Sales and Marketing at Bluestream Database Software. Nenad has been working with XML and bringing XML related products to market for over a decade. Currently his primary professional interest lies in building and socializing a DITA-enabled value-based component content management system called XDocs. Since discovering the field of technical communication 15 years ago, Galyna remains convinced that it is the coolest and most creative discipline out there. Over the years, she stopped trying to figure out whether she is a project manager, product manager, engineer, designer, tester, localisation expert, or a knowledge architect and decided to have fun changing her hats on a regular basis. Galyna is currently leading the transformation of customer learning experience (LX) at Datix. Previously, she did the same at Autodesk, where she built a high-performing LX team from the ground up. She holds two Master’s Degrees; one in Philology and another one in Technical Authorship, and she is a Fellow of the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators.
  • Recorded: October 13, 2016 Change is difficult and often avoided, and everyone knows insurance companies are risk averse. However, that didn’t stop a small team of technical writers from upending the way they created content for California Casualty. By embracing modular structured content, unproven in their industry at the time, they were able to dramatically increase content findability which had a ripple effect on their entire business. Now California Casualty is an example to other insurance companies on how change can sometimes be a good thing. Join our webinar with Susan Lalor, Senior Information Designer at California Casualty, to find out how her team was able to accomplish this transformation. See how internal stakeholders and content users are just as important as customers. And most importantly, learn best practices for sowing your own seeds of transformation. Susan Lalor wrote her first computer user manual in 1982 when she wondered how the big blank screen sitting on her desk actually worked. She knew then that technical writing was her passion. For the last 13 years, she’s worked as a Senior Information Designer for California Casualty where she is a champion for single sourcing and user experience. She’s also been lucky enough to dabble in web and graphic design, project management, and business analysis over the past 30 years. Susan has a B.S. degree with a concentration in professional writing and has been a STC member since 1998. Chip Gettinger is VP, Solutions, SDL. He manages a team working with SDL customers to maximize their own customer experience by deploying SDL Knowledge Delivery applications. Chip has over 20 years’ experience in global publishing, content strategies, customer experience management, business management, and content management solutions, working closely with industry organizations, partners, and customers in technology solutions and deployment.
  • Recorded: January 20, 2016 DITA-based technical documents are inherently sophisticated and complex hyperdocuments. They are developed through complex revision processes, often by highly-distributed teams. Thus DITA documents and their management present a number of challenges inherent in the nature of sophisticated technical documentation. While the value of this sophisticated approach to documentation has tremendous value to organizations as a whole, it can make the life of individual authors much more challenging, leading to the common complaint “DITA is too hard”. This talk presents the link and configuration management challenges inherent in sophisticated hyperlinked documentation and discusses the features of DITA and DITA component content management systems that address these challenges. If authors and managers understand the challenges inherent in DITA-based authoring they can at least set their expectations and provision tools and resources appropriately. What can attendees expect to learn?
    • The way in which DITA documents are sophisticated hyperdocuments
    • What “configuration management” means in the context of DITA-based documentation
    • The fundamental link and configuration management challenges DITA hyperdocuments present
    • The DITA features that enable and support hyperdocument
    • The link and configuration management features DITA-aware component configuration management systems must provide in order to support authors.
    • A little bit about Aikido
    Presented by Eliot Kimber, Contrext, LLC. Eliot Kimber is a founding and active member of the DITA Technical Committee. He has been working with structured markup for more than 30 years. Eliot is also a co-editor of the HyTime standard. Eliot currently focuses on the application of DITA to the business challenges of Publishers. Eliot is the founder and principal developer of the open-source DITA for Publishers project. Eliot lives and works with his family in Austin, Texas.
  • Recorded: February 17, 2016 As software has moved to the cloud and evolved into Software as a Service, there’s been an increasing need for software documentation to evolve as well. Documentation processes and project management methodologies that relied on long release cycles don’t work in the more agile world of continuous software updates. While working through this evolution, the Microsoft Dynamics AX Content Publishing team was hit with a massive layoff, reducing a team of 40 people to a team of 10. Suddenly, the idea of reinventing how we worked and how we delivered content in a more agile way took on a much more extreme meaning. Over the past year, we’ve worked through a true reinvention. We developed a model where the role of the writer has changed to the role of Content Strategist, the role of the manager has changed to one of empowering the team rather than trying to solve the team’s problems, the role of creating content has moved to a variety of subject matter experts, and the role of ensuring content quality has been distributed across teams who work most closely with customers. We’ve learned a great deal through this reinvention, and this talk shares the highlights of what we’ve learned. This talk looks at how the Microsoft Dynamics AX Content Publishing team reinvented their roles, authoring tools, and content creation and publishing processes in an environment where staffing levels are so low that writers can no longer write. You’ll learn about this team’s experience in moving away from traditional content publishing practices and instead, collaborating with other subject matter experts in planning content, identifying appropriate authors, incenting subject matter experts to create the content, and leveraging teams outside of Content Publishing to ensure content quality. The talk covers aspects of change management, influencing without authority, collaboration, partnering, creative problem solving, and teamwork. Presented by Ann Beebe, Microsoft Dynamics AX Ann Beebe has been leading content publishing teams at Microsoft for 18 years. She’s managed the documentation teams for Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Business Framework, Visual Studio, Home and Small Business Server, and is currently leading the documentation teams for Microsoft Dynamics’ AX and GP products. Prior to joining Microsoft, Ann managed documentation, training, and corporate communications for Barfield, Cauthen & Associates in Atlanta, and managed documentation and usability teams for Sales Technologies, Inc. in Atlanta.
  • Recorded: February 24, 2016 JoAnn Hackos and Stan Doherty, co-chairs of the OASIS DITA Adoption Technical Committee, take a careful look at the DITA standard’s adoption worldwide. Although we have witnessed a continuing growth of industries and companies adopting the DITA standard, we have also seen companies either deciding not to pursue DITA or abandoning an earlier excursion. Join Hackos and Doherty in examining the strengths and the weaknesses of DITA Adoption. Presented by: JoAnn Hackos, Comtech Services and Stan Doherty, SimpliVity Corporation Dr. JoAnn Hackos is President of Comtech Services, a content-management and information-design firm based in Denver, Colorado, which she founded in 1978. She is Director of the Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM), a membership organization focused on content-management and information-development best practices. Dr. Hackos and colleagues are called upon by corporate executives worldwide to consult on strategies for content management, development and organizational management, product interface design, customer studies, Web and traditional information architecture, and tools and technology selection. Stan Doherty lives in the the Boston area and works as a technical publications manager at SimpliVity Corporation. He participates as an active member of the OASIS DITA Technical Committee and DITA Adoption Committee. Stan also supports companies in New England considering DITA. Feel free to contact Stan if you are considering DITA, DITA tools, or DITA-aware CCMSs. In previous jobs at Akamai Technologies, MathWorks Inc., and Sun Microsystems, Stan has implemented DITA-based solutions for manuals, CSHelp, and web-hosted information centers.