CIDM e-newsletter
Volume 4, Issue 1
January 2004

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

If you would like to receive the CIDM e-newsletter in plain-text format, visit and choose the plain-text format.

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News & Events

CM Strategies Conference

The Center for Information-Development Management is excited to bring you the 2004 Content Management Strategies conference to take place on April 19–20, in San Francisco, California.

Register Today

JoAnn Hackos Workshop Series

Seminars in Usable Design has changed its name. More information here.
View the new website.

Astoria White paper

Read about The Strategic Business Value of Structured Document Management

Best Practices Newsletter

CIDM Members: you can now search the Newsletter Archives online

You can purchase the Best Practices newsletter online even if you aren’t a CIDM member. The subscription costs $99 per year. For subscribers outside the US, the cost is $109 USD.

Upcoming Workshops

The CIDM sponsors the following workshops. Sign up now:

Structured Writing for Single Sourcing
JoAnn Hackos, PhD,
March 18–19
Morrisville, NC

Managing Your Documentation Projects
William Hackos, Jr., PhD,
March 30–31
Waterloo, ON
June 16–17
San Diego, CA

Minimalism: Creating manuals that people will use
JoAnn Hackos, PhD,
May 19–20
Seattle, WA

Choosing your Content Management Tools
Tina Hedlund,
May 19–20
Boston, MA

User and Task Analysis for Information Design
William Hackos, Jr., PhD,
May 27–28
Houston, TX

Offshore Outsourcing
JoAnn Hackos, PhD,
June 10–11
Denver, CO

XML for Writers
Tina Hedlund,
March 29–30
Oakland, CA
June 16–17
Dallas, TX

For more information on these and other workshops, visit the JoAnn Hackos Workshop Series Web site

Making the Executives Play the Game
JoAnn Hackos, PhD
CIDM Director

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.

Read the article

More articles
Innovator’s Forum Update
Solutions Must Deliver Outcomes to the User Context
More on Offshoring
When Will Outsourcing Stop?
Christmas Gifts and New Year’s Resolutions

Innovator’s Forum Update
Katherine Brennan Murphy
Principal, Tapestry Communications

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.

Read the article

Solutions Must Deliver Outcomes to the User Context
Susan Harkus

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.

Read the article

More on Offshoring
William Hackos, Jr., PhD
Vice President, Comtech Services, inc.

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.

Read the article

When Will Outsourcing Stop?
Tina Hedlund
Senior Consultant, Comtech Services, Inc.

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.

Read the article

Christmas Gifts and New Year’s Resolutions
Vesa Purho
Development Manager, Nokia

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.

Read the article