Information Management News
A monthly e-newsletter from The Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM)
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Measuring Performance in Information Development
Once upon a time, an information-development manager in a large telecommunications company discovered that the cost of one project far exceeded the costs of any of the other projects her staff worked on. Investigating further, the manager learned that this project was a victim of poorly defined requirements and specifications, resulting in nearly continuous redirection and rework of the documentation. Nothing was ever written once. Due to continuous changes in direction, the writers spent a large fraction of their project time adding, deleting, and rewriting topics. When the manager reported the findings to senior management, they decided to replace the engineering project manager. The lower productivity among the writers on this project mirrored productivity problems among the engineers.
In 2000, we were developing a product for several European markets, and we knew that we would only have a short time to prepare the product for each market. Would a combination of automatic translation and human translators help us reduce localization time by reducing translation time?
Recently, I found Thomas L. Friedman being interviewed by John Doerr, who was guest hosting the Charlie Rose show that night. I had tuned in midway into the program, just as Friedman was explaining how his views have changed as a result of touring the US since he wrote his book. The subject of the show was “The Looming Energy Crisis,” an interesting topic in itself. However, what struck me over and over again as I listened was the critical need for strategic thinking and innovative leadership, particularly as we attempt to navigate a future full of major paradigm shifts in energy and environmental conservation fundamental to our economic as well as ecological well being. What follows is a summary of the Friedman interview.
Talking to information developers today, I find an almost universal trend. Almost all managers say management is cutting back on their departments. They are being asked to do more with less. Sound familiar? The surprising thing is that we are doing more with less, and of very good quality! How is that possible? I’ve asked around. Writers are not working more hours than before. Offshoring has not been able to realize the cost savings that management expected. Yet somehow we are able to produce more good quality information than we were before.
xml:tm (XML-based Text Memory) is the vendor-neutral open XML standard for embedding text memory within an XML document. xml:tm leverages the namespace syntax of XML to embed text memory information within the XML document itself. xml:tm provides a radical new approach to the task of authoring and translating XML documents.