A monthly e-newsletter from The Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM)
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Making the Executives Play the Game
Phillip Armour, VP of Corvus International, had a brilliant and cruel idea. In conducting a three-day workshop to teach executives about software, he gave them the task of creating software themselves—just to see what it felt like. The first day of the course was predictable enough, consisting of a lecture about the software-development process. Attendees included executives from marketing, finance, manufacturing, and even a corporate counsel. Their goal was to learn about the software-development activities in companies that are not in the software business or at least don’t see themselves that way.
During our January 7th Innovator’s Forum meeting, we discussed the best way to communicate our vision both inside our groups and within the larger organizations. JoAnn facilitated our discussion by taking us through a draft presentation entitled “The Tech Writer’s Life in a Content-Management World: A Vision of Success.” The group generally felt that this storytelling approach might work well for their staffs and that it did begin to focus attention on how the changes affect each member of their teams.
Driven by a great desire to deliver value to clients, the Department embarked on a “Listening to Users” program and commissioned a tribe of consultants to conduct many, many, many focus groups across the length and breadth of the land.
In this election year, offshoring is becoming a hot political topic. We’ve noticed that everyone, not just the high-tech community, is getting involved. On Tuesday, January 6, an op-ed article in the New York Times by Senator Charles Schumer (New York) and Paul Craig Roberts (Assistant Treasury Secretary under Reagan) addresses the issue of offshoring. They report that it is incorrect to link offshoring with “Free Trade.” Historically, free trade relates to the sale of products from one country to another. Free trade encourages each country to sell those products, which it produces with its own resources (factors of production) to other countries with minimal interference by the governments of those countries. The theory is that countries will specialize, depending on what they do best, and everyone in the world will have the advantage of the cheapest and highest quality products. In the theory of free trade, everyone benefits.
If a company doesn’t earn enough to make a profit, it either has to increase revenues or cut expenses. In these days of economic downturns and disintegrating markets, many companies have decided to cut expenses to stay afloat and survive. A very popular way to cut expenses has been to outsource IT and technical writing functions to areas of the world that charge much less for the same services.
The holiday seasons are already over when you read this article but I still want to give you a gift for Christmas. When the times are tough and we have fewer and fewer resources for doing our work, it is easy to neglect planning and dive in immediately doing “real work.” So my gift to you all is having time to plan.