Rare Bird Award 2015

JoAnn Hackos, Comtech Services, Inc.

The Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 Rare Bird Award. Hebe Hui He and Wang Xu Dong of Huawei Corporation received a joint award for their exemplary work in transforming the processes used to develop user documentation. They have created a collaborative environment that has produced incredible gains in content reuse and the automated retrieval of reference content from design documentation.

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Building on the implementation of the Annotated Topic List (ATL), introduced to them by Dr. JoAnn Hackos and Comtech Services, Inc., Mr. Wang’s team has brought together all the roles involved in the product-development life cycle. As a result of the transformation, customer satisfaction with user documentation has increased by 17.6% and now exceeds Huawei competitors.

At the same time, Ms. Hebe Hui He has transformed the way the information architects and technical communicators at Huawei interact with customers. Their customer communications have exceeded 3,000 customers worldwide. As a result of customer feedback, they have adopted user-task analysis techniques and minimalist principles to radically transform Huawei’s approach to documentation.

The information architects now produce posters, videos, interactive comics, and a colorful mobile app, and have reduced the topic count of manuals by more than 50%. Their mobile app already has more than 150,000 users. They have reduced the topic count of their telecommunications documentation by more than half while achieving twice as many customer views.

Ms. Hui He’s presentation at the Best Practices conference astounded the audience, demonstrating a program that appeals to young millennial customers and accommodates the preferences of more traditional customers.

Huawei clearly has recognized the achievements of the greater documentation teams represented by Mr. Wang and Ms. Hui He. They have been awarded the “Best R&D Transformation Project” award and the “Key Breakthrough in Transformation” award, awards that typically go to engineering teams. Their work has been supported by senior management, including the Chief Quality & Operations Officer and the Director of Architecture and Key DFX Department.

Their integrated single-sourcing process is illustrated below:

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2015 Rare Bird Entries

The judges were faced with difficult choices for the 2015 Rare Bird award competition. We received four remarkable applications.

Charles Dowdell, AGCO Corporation, presented the work done by his organization to integrate information development globally. He built a collaborative authoring environment in which information developers writing in their native languages contributed shareable content to their content management system. As soon as content is entered, it is translated so that it can be used across product lines. The CMS also supports search in multiple languages to accommodate all the authors.

Sachin Shimoga, Ericsson, reported on the work of the team in India, led by Sharon Figueira, to transform a time-consuming and quality-challenged process to something efficient and streamlined. They reported taking a process from hundreds of hours to complete to fewer than 5 hours. Not only did they gain in efficiency but they also improved the quality of the content by automating the reference content. As a result of the process and quality improvements, the time to resolve customer support calls declined from 2-3 weeks to 2-3 days.

Agneta Weisberg, Atlas Copco, described their project to implement the OASIS DITA standard among their global information-development teams. They introduced a new tool set and moved into a content management system with topic-oriented writing. At the same time, they worked to improve the documentation supporting their parts catalog system, enabling customers to find and order replacement parts quickly and easily.

We are pleased with the entries for 2015 and strongly urge all CIDM members to consider submitting their outstanding project work in 2016. It is not too soon to begin gathering information.