CIDM e-newsletter
Volume 4, Issue 7
July 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

The Rare Bird Award

The Rare Bird Award recognizes outstanding managers and/or teams that make organizations more efficient and effective on behalf of their companies and customers. Read more about the Rare Bird.

Showcase poster presentation at the Best Practices conference

If you have a great idea for change or can demonstrate how a new idea has worked in your organization, propose a Showcase poster presentation. Find out more about the Showcase and how you can sign up.

Upcoming Workshops

The CIDM sponsors the following workshops:

Outsourcing and Offshoring Information Development: A Management Challenge
JoAnn Hackos, PhD,
July 15–16
Denver, CO

Minimalism: Creating Manuals That People Can Use
JoAnn Hackos, PhD,
September 8–9
Roseville, MN

XML for Writers
Mark Baker,
October 5–6
Durham, NC

User and Task Analysis for Information Design
Bill Hackos,
October 6–7
Hillsboro, OR

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

Just What Do We Mean by Productivity?
JoAnn Hackos, PhD
CIDM Director

The U.S. government’s definition of productivity is based upon a manufacturing model. To measure productivity, you simply count the number of widgets produced and divide by the amount of time or cost it took to produce them. If you’re dealing with widgets, simple productivity measurements seem to make some sense in evaluating gains or losses in productivity.

Read the article

More articles
Managing Managers: Taking Your Story to Company Executives
Documentation or Training? — Boundaries Get Blurred
PowerPoint Conversion Functionality

2004 Best Practices conference
October 18–20, 2004, Chatham, Massachusetts

Register for the conference before July 31 and save!

Innovator’s Forum
October 21, 2004, Chatham, Massachusetts

2004 Best Practices conference
Building Productivity through Innovation

As soon as you’re asked to increase productivity, the immediate response is to work harder. If my staff or I can just put in more hours, work through lunch, give up vacations, weekends, and holidays, we’ll automatically be more productive. If we just cut out technical reviews, editing, testing text with product, we’ll eek out more work. Or, if we lay off 10, 20, even 30 percent of our staff, the rest of us will somehow figure out how to keep the volume of work at the same level.

Worst of all, if we can only find some really low cost workers, we can hire two or three people for the cost of one in the US. Then we’ll have more people to keep up with the workload, but our costs per person will go down.

Or, we can discover ways of innovating in the design of our products and processes to reduce costs and develop superior work with the same or a smaller staff.

At Best Practices 2004, learn how to evaluate productivity demand. Connect the dots by understanding how innovations can help you win the productivity race and keep the wolves from the door. Join CIDM members and colleagues in our focus on improving the organizational perception of our work through innovation and productivity gains.

We hope you will join us at the beautiful Chatham Bars Inn, New England’s premier oceanfront resort. As you prepare to attend in October, read Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Solution, this year’s theme book.

Managing Managers: Taking Your Story to Company Executives
Julie A. Bradbury
Independent Consultant

I believe you own your group’s reputation inside the company and with customers. If I could speak with each one of you in person, I would ask, “Are you a good steward of your group’s reputation? What are you communicating to your leadership? Do you know what your reputation is?”

Read the article

Documentation or Training? — Boundaries Get Blurred
Vesa Purho
Development Manager, Nokia

Traditionally, it has been easy to separate customer documentation from training. Documentation was in the manuals and training was given by trainers. But when documentation is being delivered through Web and e-learning, which is becoming more and more popular, it is less evident, at least from the user’s point-of-view, which is which. I argue here that it should not actually matter.

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PowerPoint Conversion Functionality
Michael Hahn
Senior Content Managment Analyst, Vasont Systems

One of the dubious joys of working in a technical field is creating training presentations from the operations and technical manuals created for products or technology. Manually extracting content from a document to re-type into Microsoft PowerPoint is a chore most trainers and training support personnel desperately wish to avoid.

Read the article