Anne Grosvenor, Comtech Services, Inc.

Thanks to all of our 2011 Rare Bird submitters. Our community members continue to strive towards improving process and efficiency with outstanding innovations and leadership. Here is a brief description of the entries:

Entry 1: Installation Gremlins

Submitted by John Stark, A-Dec
A-Dec uses the Gremlin, a usability-focused meeting, to test the helpfulness and accuracy of installation instructions. In the meeting, Technical Communications staff members observe a technician unfamiliar with the product, complete assembly using only the installation instructions. Gremlins have been instrumental in identifying potential product design issues early in the development cycle. Additionally, the Gremlins have contributed to more accurate and higher quality documentation and have helped to strengthen the relationship between Product Development and Technical Communications staff members.

Entry 2: Freescale’s IDEA

Submitted by Bob Beims, Freescale Semiconductor, Inc.
Freescales’s Information Development Ecosystem Advantage (IDEA) is a methodology employed to incorporate information development into all phases of the product lifecycle. At the root of the methodology is an XML-based development environment supported by an enterprise-wide repository. Focused on single-sourcing, requirements traceability, and a user-based approach to providing the documentation that their customers need, Freescale has made impressive improvements in its information-development strategy.

Entry 3: Grooming for Migration

Submitted by Eddie Hartman, Fujitsu Network Communications, Inc.
Fujitsu reported on lessons learned during their content migration for DITA pilot projects in hardware and software user documentation and how they are poised for the future. By applying minimalism and DITA best practices, prior to conversion, Fujitsu positioned itself for successful content migration.

Entry 4: Moving Technical Publications from a Push to a Pull System

Submitted by Emily Mydlowski, Hach Company
Hach reported on the results of implementing a new departmental strategy for information design and development. Coupled with a DITA CCMS and translation management system implementation, Hach’s push to pull methodology has resulted in a number of impressive metrics. Additional components of the Hach strategy include increased on-time delivery measurements, increased productivity, review-process improvements, higher quality writing, increased foreign language offerings that enabled the company to move into new markets, and decreased backlog.

Entry 5: UTA Practice by Means of Training

Submitted by Hebe Hehui, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
When customers travel to Huawei headquarters for training, the Technical Documentation team maximizes this opportunity by setting up interviews. The results of these interviews help the Technical Publications team to develop personas. Huawei has a much better understanding of their customers’ needs due to these engagements.

Entry 6: Juniper’s Content is King Vision for all Technical Documentation

Submitted by Rajal Shah, Juniper Networks
Juniper reported the results of its six-year endeavor to implement XML and topic-based authoring. By reconsidering how content is consumed, Juniper Technical Publications developed an innovative strategy that provides higher quality content to its customers and has provided opportunities to successfully partner with additional teams and business units.

2011 Judging is underway

Our judges are currently reviewing the submissions to determine the 2011 Rare Bird Award Winner. Director JoAnn Hackos will announce the winner at the Best Practices Conference in September. Please join us at the Tuesday evening Awards Banquet to honor this year’s recipient.