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: 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
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: 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: 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: 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.