CIDM e-newsletter
Volume 3, Issue 10
October 2003

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

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News & Events

Call for Proposals

The Center for Information-Development Management has announced a call for participation in the upcoming Content Management Strategies conference to take place April 19-20, 2004 in San Francisco, California.

Offshore Information Development White Paper

This report presents the study findings and offers guidelines for best practices for North American companies considering moving their information development to offshore resources.

Purchase today!
Call 303.232.7586 or email CIDM
CIDM Member price: $149
Non-member Price: $295

Upcoming Workshops
The CIDM sponsors the following workshops. Sign up now:

Minimalism: Creating Manuals People Will Use
JoAnn Hackos, PhD,
November 6–7, 2003,
Atlanta, GA

ProjectsManaging Your Documentation 
Bill Hackos, PhD
October 16–17, 2003,
Phoenix, AZ

Developing a Content Management Strategy
JoAnn Hackos, PhD,
December 4–5
Rochester, NY

Developing Online Information for Help and Web-Based Delivery
JoAnn Hackos, PhD,
October 21–22, 2003,
New Orleans, LA
November 11–12,
New York, NY

XML for Writers
Tina Hedlund
October 21–22, 2003,
Chicago, IL

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

At the Water’s Edge
JoAnn Hackos, PhD
CIDM Director

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the 5th annual Best Practices conference was the view of Elliott Bay from our conference room. The Edgewater hotel is built on pilings so that half the rooms overlook the Bay over which Seattle’s downtown is built. At first, I thought the view would be distracting: ferries plying the waters between the city and the island communities, parasailing tourists, sea lions, glaucous-winged gulls, and at least six massive cruise ships. The gulls often chose the most inopportune time to squawk, but overall the view was energizing rather than annoying. It kept us all focused on the inspiring presentations from so many CIDM members.

Read the article

More articles
Notes from the Innovator’s Forum
WYSIWIG and the Status of Technical Writers
Supply and Demand
Prioritizing Requirements

Best Practices Newsletter… Subscribe Today!

The Best Practices bimonthly newsletter, directed by JoAnn Hackos, provides the latest news in the information-development industry and reports on CIDM studies and member actions. This newsletter features articles about benchmarking activities and best practices, a calendar of coming events throughout the industry, book reviews, abstracts of journal articles of interest to information-development managers, tool reviews, and more.

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

Current Newsletter Topics

October 2003 Volume 5, Issue 9

Feature Article

What If Your Writers Loved Their Work?

by Palmer Pearson, Operations Manager, Cadence Design Systems, Inc.

From the Director

by JoAnn Hackos

Case Study

Motivating Teams during Trying Times

by Beth Barrow, resource Manager, Motorola, Inc.

Team Building

Building a Successful Team

by Jill Bentley, Consultant to the software industry in Silicon Valley

Creative Techniques

Creatively Growing Your Publications Group

by Kyla Cragg, Senior Publications Manager, Cadence Design Systems, Inc.

Article Reprint

The Shackleton Way: Leadership under Stress

by Bill Hackos, Vice President, Comtech Services, Inc.

Article Reprint

How Can I Motivate My Technical Communicators?

by Bill Hackos, Vice President, Comtech Services, Inc.

Book Review

Are We De-Motivating Our Employees?

by Bill Hackos, Vice President, Comtech Services, Inc.

Manager’s Calendar

Notes from the Innovator’s Forum
Tina Hedlund
Senior Consultant, Comtech Services, Inc.

Following the Best Practices Conference in Seattle, CIDM held the first in a series of Innovator’s Forum sessions. Forum leaders, JoAnn Hackos, Bill Hackos, Julie Bradbury, Katherine Murphy, and I, led discussions through the eight change management steps outlined in The Heart of Change. The change management steps ensure the successful adoption of any innovation, whether it be a new content management system for single sourcing or the adoption of user experience practices within an organization.

Read the article

WYSIWIG and the Status of Technical Writers
Bill Hackos, PhD
Vice President, Comtech Services, Inc.

I was delighted with the presentation by Mark Baker of Stilo at the September Best Practices conference in Seattle. The theme of the conference was change management. Mark’s presentation concerned the change in writing technology from markup languages, like NROF, TROF, and SGML, to WYSIWIG systems like Microsoft Word and FrameMaker. Considering the recent trend back to markup languages, (HTML and XML), Mark asked us to consider what made WYSIWIG so dominant over the markup languages in the first place?

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Supply and Demand
Bill Hackos, PhD
Vice President, Comtech Services, Inc.

My last job before joining JoAnn at Comtech was with a mining company called the Climax Molybdenum Company. I know it’s a funny name. Molybdenum is a metal used to make stainless steel. If you have a stainless steel utensil set it contains molybdenum. It’s also used to make high-quality lubricants. Any lubricant that has the word “moly” in its name contains molybdenum. Climax is the name of the 11,000 ft high Colorado mining town where the company’s first mine was developed.

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Prioritizing Requirements
Vesa Purho
Development Manager, Nokia

In the last two articles, I have discussed defining requirements. Normally, you cannot actually implement all the requirements due to budget constraints. Therefore, you need to have some method to prioritize the requirements. Hopefully, your method is not “whoever speaks the loudest and is the most active gets their requirements implemented.”

Read the article