New Forums available to Mastermind Members

When we checked in with our TC Dojo Mastermind members, they asked us for a place where they could collaborate with each other outside the regular meetings. Until this point, we had a wiki where everyone could collaborate, but it just wasn’t meeting their needs.  So, earlier this week we stood up a community forum site to make it easy for Mastermind members to share their knowledge and experience.

WelcomeForums

 

Continue reading New Forums available to Mastermind Members

What happens when you skimp on documentation?

In the TC Dojo last week we found out: Your company is at risk of debilitating lawsuits that, in the worst case, can put you out of business. Joe Devney, forensic linguist, editor, non-fiction writer, and previous STC chapter chair shared stories of companies who delivered insufficient, poorly-written documentation or who failed to provide any documentation at all.

First, he shared the foundation and statistics for potential risks of businesses who skimp on documentation. Then he told real-life stories.

Now, I’ve seen Joe speak before at a local STC chapter meeting. I always learn something new about how to produce good technical documentation. Usually that moment of enlightenment comes out of the shock of something I’ve just heard him say with regard to someone else’s content. (Something that usually triggered a major catastrophe for the company in question.)

Today was no different. Continue reading What happens when you skimp on documentation?

Notes from the DITA Best Practices BOF lunch at CMS DITA NA Conference

Tracy Baker and I had a full table and intense discussion on the topics on the minds of the people in attendance. Real time issues and ideas for possible solutions. Topics ranged from reuse strategies to getting started to review processes to getting it all done while still doing your day job. Before we got started, we asked everyone to give us a little information: who are you, what industry do you come from, and what’s on your mind/what brought you to this BOF table. The participants included:

  • Erin (Telecom) who is in unstructured FrameMaker and wants to know how to planning the move to DITA (“it’s exciting and scary”). She’s also interested in contextualized content
  • Eric (Services) says he’s listening in so he can get a better sense of things
  • Cecile (Healthcare, from France) is moving to DITA from XML and she’s wants to talk about reuse strategies given that she expects that her XML modules will become to multiple DITA topics
  • Abbie (Services) is here to learn
  • Liz M (Services, Abbie’s coworker) is also here to learn
  • Bob (Medical Device) is looking for questions
  • Ed (High Tech) is also moving from XML to DITA but he wants to be sure they’re doing it for the right reasons. He’s also got a legacy data concern and seconds the request to talk about reuse strategies.
  • Renee (High Tech) is tasked with fixing a DITA environment. She wants to talk QA, processes, staffing roles
  • Moderator: Tracy Baker from F5, DITA early adopter
  • Moderator: Me, Liz Fraley from Single-Sourcing Solutions and the moderator of the TC Dojo Mastermind sessions.

Tracy Baker is a regular at the DITA NA conference. She’s from F5 and started her road to DITA in 2009. She’s an Information Architect, a writer, a tools person. She wrote the Information Model that F5 still uses today. In fact, only two elements have been added since she wrote it originally. It’s been a long road and it’s only this year, in 2015, that all the documents published for all the products have been 100% DITA. She’s worn a lot of hats but warns that “you can’t wear all the hats. You can try. You will die.”

Together, Tracy and I moderated the discussion and what follows are notes from the conversation. Tidbits, tips, suggestions, and advice for the folks at the table. One-on-one time for them to get their burning questions answered, their comfort levels…well, leveled. Continue reading Notes from the DITA Best Practices BOF lunch at CMS DITA NA Conference