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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?
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.
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.
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?
From the Continent
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.
The Center For Information-Development Management
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