CIDM e-newsletter
Volume 2, Issue 10
October 2002

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

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News & Events

XML for Writers presented by Tina Hedlund for the Rocky Mountain Chapter (STC) on December 6, 2002, in Denver, CO.

For more information, visit

Upcoming Workshops
The CIDM sponsors the following workshops between November and December 2002. Sign up now:

Structuring Information for Online Success
Henry Korman, RA,
November 14-15, 2002, Madison, WI

Developing a Content-Management Strategy
JoAnn Hackos, PhD,
November 18-19, 2002, Columbus, OH

Developing a Strategy for Minimalism: Creating Manuals People Will Use
JoAnn Hackos, PhD,
December 4-5, Santa Monica, CA

User and Task Analysis for Information Design
Bill Hackos, PhD,
December 10-11, 2002, Sunnyvale, CA

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

What Makes an Effective Information-Development Manager?
JoAnn T. Hackos, PhD
CIDM Director

Recently, the STC Management SIG has been engaged in a thread about the “visibility” in the organization of information-development processes. The question focuses on how obtrusive these processes should be in the organization. One view, expressed by Donn LeVie, argues that other managers, especially engineering managers, may find our processes to be annoying. They don’t want to be told that publications needs to write information plans and content specifications or needs three weeks to make publications print-ready.

My concern with the focus of the discussion is this. Why should information-development managers go along with the assumption by others that our work is second class? Do we need to hide our processes or make them unobtrusive because they might annoy others in the organization?

Read the full article

Metrics That Matter
Bill Hackos, PhD
Vice President, Comtech Services, Inc.

As information developers, we’re always trying to optimize our processes to improve the quality of our information. When we discuss quality, we talk about two measures: effectiveness and efficiency.

  • Effectiveness refers to the usability of the information. Is the information optimized for the user?
  • Efficiency refers to the cost of the documentation. Is the cost of developing the documentation as low as possible without compromising its effectiveness?

The project-management methods described in JoAnn Hackos’s book, Managing Your Documentation Projects, and the Six Sigma methodology both recommend that you keep metrics about your information-development process. By using metrics, you have the data you need to implement process and information-design improvements.

Read the full article

News From Down Under
Robert N. Phillips
CEO, Lasotell Pty Ltd.

Here is a wonderful tip for those who wrestle with importing graphics into MSWord. What is the single biggest headache? Monster file sizes. If you do not know about PNG (pronounced: ping), then you are in for great day, because you are going to save time and money. How would you like to have an MSWord file containing 150–repeat, 150–screen captures that is only 1.9MB in size?

Read the full article

From the Continent
Vesa Purho
Development Manager, Nokia

Why do people and companies prefer certain products to the competitive products? To put it simply, the reason is either a cheaper price or the perceived added value provided by the product. These two dimensions can be put into a matrix to create various competitive strategies, and these strategies should be taken into account in the documentation development. In this article, I discuss the different competitive strategies and their effect on documentation.

Read the full article

The Center For Information-Development Management
The Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM) is an organization of information-development, training, and support managers across the United States and internationally. The CIDM is directed by Dr. JoAnn Hackos, international leader in the management of the design, development, and dissemination of information to customers and employees. Under her leadership, the CIDM conducts benchmark studies among member organizations and elsewhere, sponsors research into information development and its management, and gathers and disseminates results and resources through newsletters, the Web, seminars, an annual conference, and research white papers. The CIDM facilitates the sharing of information among the most skilled managers in the information industry.

If you are interested in reading more in-depth articles, you should consider subscribing to the Best Practices newsletter at