CIDM e-newsletter
Volume 3, Issue 2
February 2003

A monthly e-newsletter from The Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM)
JoAnn T. Hackos, PhD, CIDM Director

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News & Events

Content-Management Strategies Conferencepresented by the CIDM on April 28-29, 2003 with a post-conference workshop on April 30, 2003 in Washington, D.C.

For more information, visit

Forum 2003 Conferencesponsored by INTECOM on June 30-July 2, 2003 in Milano, Italy.

For more information, visit

Upcoming Workshops
The CIDM sponsors the following workshops between March and September 2003. Sign up now:

XML for Writers
Tina Hedlund,
March 20-21, 2003, Reno, NV
April 15-16, 2003, Dallas, TX

Developing a Strategy for Minimalism: Creating Manuals People Will Use
JoAnn Hackos, PhD,
March 25-26, 2003, St. Paul, MN
May 13-14, 2003, Lexington, KY

Developing Online Information for Help and Web-Based Delivery
JoAnn Hackos, PhD,
April 2-3, 2003, Portland, OR

User and Task Analysis for Information Design
Bill Hackos, PhD,
April 8-9, 2003, Austin, TX

Structured Writing for Single Sourcing
JoAnn Hackos, PhD,
April 8-9, 2003, Indianapolis, IN
September 9-10, 2003, Columbus, OH

Managing Your Documentation Projects
JoAnn Hackos, PhD
May 6-7, 2003, Boston, MA

Developing a Content-Management Strategy
JoAnn Hackos, PhD
July 15-16, 2003, Rochester, NY

For more information on these and other workshops, visit the Seminars in Usable Design Web site at

Heading toward Maturity, Level 2: Rudimentary Organizations
JoAnn Hackos, PhD
CIDM Director

Level 2 organizations are on a journey from Level 1 to Level 3. As a result, they are in a very uncomfortable position with a lot of changes to make. The more changes, the more instability that staff members will have to deal with.

Read the article

More articles
Stop Running in Circles
How Many Participants Are Enough?
Microsoft Accelerator, a New Tool for Six Sigma Organizations
Soft Systems Methodology Part Three
Flashback—What I Would Do Differently Now

Content-Management Strategies
Conference: April 28-29, 2003
Post-Conference Workshop: April 30, 2003

Mark your calendars! The Content-Management Strategies 2003 conference is April 28-29, 2003, in Washington, D.C.

Valentine's Special Registration

Register for the conference by today, February 28,
and the cost is only $895 USD!

For more information and to register for the conference and workshop, visit

Stop Running in Circles

The economy is down, and some of us are adapting by doing more with less. We have less time, less money, and fewer people. The overall lack of resources has us running in circles, rarely slowing down for a breath of air. Precisely why conferences are still essential. Conferences give us a chance to take a deep breath and to gain perspective on where we are and where we need to go.

Read the abstract

How Many Participants Are Enough?
Bill Hackos, PhD
Vice President, Comtech Services, Inc.

Often, one of the questions that I am asked in my consulting practice is “How many participants are required in a customer study or usability test to ensure a scientifically valid result?” Some of my clients tell me they have heard quotes of as many as 20 or 30 participants. Statistics texts will tell you the same thing. We also know that Gallup and Harris use a rather large number of participants in their political polling.

The problem for information developers is that customer studies and usability testing are very labor-intensive and, therefore, can be cost-intensive. Remember that the psychologists who are writing the textbooks use graduate students for their labor who basically work for free!

The basic issue in statistical studies is not using a lot of participants but instead picking your sample very carefully. It’s important that your sample reflects the total population in terms of the data you want to collect.

Read the article

Microsoft Accelerator, a New Tool for Six Sigma Organizations

Is your organization following the Six Sigma methodology? If so, you may be interested in Microsoft Accelerator, set to be released in the spring.

Read the announcement

Soft Systems Methodology Part Three
Robert N. Phillips
CEO, Lasotell Pty Ltd.

In this article, I continue the series on Soft Systems Methodology or “How to tackle messy situations in the real world in an organised way.”

Read the article

Flashback—What I Would Do Differently Now
Vesa Purho
Development Manager, Nokia

Customer visits may at first thought sound a bit scary (how do I behave, what do I wear, what if I say something stupid, and so on) but, as with all tasks, all it takes is a bit of planning. In this article, I share some tips.

Read the article