RE: Inventive Documentation [was Re: Let's hear it for Connie...( or, go and do likewise...)]

Subject: RE: Inventive Documentation [was Re: Let's hear it for Connie...( or, go and do likewise...)]
From: jgarison -at- ide -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2002 09:16:18 -0400




Prompted by Connie, Chuck, and Megan, I, too have done some introspection as
to "what have I REALLY done lately"

1. When we were really small and struggling, and needed to do more than we
realistically could with a small development team, I eagerly volunteered and
participated in forming cross-functional teams where writers became part of
the design and development process. Today I am the project leader for our
next software release (and still the documentation manager), and the writers
have been found to be the very best people to run the feature definition
teams.

2. When we were faced with an outmoded and overloaded help system generated
by traditional HAT tools, I looked around until I found a better solution.
We now use Dreamweaver - a non-traditional tool for developing documentation
- and provide a search engine instead of a 1500 page "twist to open" TOC.
Our users and support people love it.

3. I volunteered some of my time to try and address issues brought up on
this list. I am a long-time STC member in a very active chapter (Boston) and
have done several well-attended chapter meetings and special interest group
presentations to provide others with insights and information so that they,
too, can learn and grow. I also volunteered to lead the Tools and
Technologies portion of next year's STC annual conference, prompted in large
part by a lengthy (TOO lengthy!) series of posts on this list about the fact
that STC conferences are light weight. I am actively soliciting just about
everyone I come in contact with to consider submitting a proposal for the
conference - The ONLY way it will improve is if WE contribute some effort to
make it better. (PS - Deadline is in early August for submitting those
proposals!)


So - a small challenge to fellow techwhirlers:

What are YOU doing to make our profession a better one? If we all do just a
little something it will make a big difference. It's easy to criticize,
harder to force change. As they say on West Wing - if you don't vote, you
don't get to complain about the results.

John Garison
Documentation Manager
IDe, Concord, MA
978-402-2907
jgarison -at- ide -dot- com



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