Anne Grosvenor, Comtech Services, Inc.

Thank you to all who submitted for the 2012 Rare Bird Award. Our community members continue to strive toward improving process and efficiency with outstanding innovations and leadership. Following is a brief description of the entries.

Entry 1: Improving from the View of our Customers
Submitted by Hebe Hehui, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
The Huawei documentation team completed an intensive customer study and reorganized many of its manuals to better meet the needs of their customers. Huawei gathered feedback from over 200 customers and applied minimalism principles to its content. The updated information is focused on user needs and eliminates unnecessary verbiage. The Huawei documentation team has won internal awards for their work, and management is considering how to replicate the results for more manuals and products.

Entry 2: Efficient and Customer-Focus through Content-reuse, Minimalism, and Automated Publishing
Submitted by Sabine Metzger, Ericsson
Over the past few years, Ericsson has collected customer feedback using a variety of tools. The documentation team analyzes and uses that feedback to ensure that their content development is focused on the user. Additionally, there is a sophisticated strategy for reusing content which helps to streamline the creation and maintenance of content. The information-development strategy is culminating in output that is valued by internal and external audiences.

Entry 3: Improving Product Usability with Task Complexity Metrics
Submitted by Ben Colburn, Nutanix
At the request of Engineering, the Nutanix Information Development team developed a complexity metric that they apply to their procedures. These metrics are tracked from release to release and are used for resource allocation and improvement prioritization. The complexity metric has helped to quantify user experience improvements at Nutanix. It has caused the teams to set goals and has transitioned a historically subjective topic into concrete objective measurements.

Entry 4: User Task Analysis: East Meets West
Submitted by Jon Cox, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
The North American Documentation Professional Services team took over the task of User and Task Analysis (UTA) development at Huawei with very good results. The North American team was identified to help with UTA development because of their language and interviewing skills and cultural understanding of the US audience. The Chinese writers benefit from this arrangement by receiving completed UTAs that they use to develop task-based documentation focused on the end user.

Entry 5: East Meets West with a ‘NESE’ Sighting
Submitted by Jon Cox, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
When Huawei entered the North American marketplace, its new customers had many complaints about the documentation which is authored in Chinese and then translated to English. Huawei very quickly responded to customer needs by adding a new role, the Native English Speaking Editor (NESE). The customer response to documents edited by NESEs has been overwhelmingly positive, and Huawei is extending the NESE process to other business units at Huawei.

Entry 6: Budget Friendly Localizable Videos with Audio Narration
Submitted by Gregg Makepeace, Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software, Inc.
In an effort to innovate and improve the content and delivery of information to customers, the Siemens PLM Learning Media Development team recently released a series of “show me” videos to end users of online help and self-paced course content for the NX product. The “show me” videos include text-to-speech (TTS) audio narration technology that can be more easily localized than traditional narration. In their first video release, the team included 85 videos in ten languages. Customer response has been enthusiastic, and Siemens PLM plans to expand its project scope.

Entry 7: Ninja Writing Squad Workshop
Submitted by Don Cwiklowski, MasterCard
The MasterCard Manuals and Publications team set aside one day with the focus of converting one MS Word document to DITA. All the roles of the publication lifecycle were included and the document was created, edited, and published in one day. The success of their first workshop has inspired the team to schedule more one-day document development days.

Entry 8: 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.

2012 Judging is Underway

Our judges have reviewed the submissions to determine the 2012 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.