From: "Anna Langley" <alangley -at- ts -dot- checkpoint -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2003 11:04:38 -0600

Dear John:

Hello, and thanks for your comments. Actually, it's a request from my
manager. He asked me to research industry awards for training
documentation. My past experience has been with our local STC competitions.
Even though I don't have any work that will be submitted, I want to help my
team. But you have some very valid points: What value is there really in
peer awards? I think for us it increases our credibility. We sell our
training material directly to our customers - students who take our training
classes, and internal employees who use our multimedia training material to
better educate themselves on our products. So, on the one hand, it helps us
to show our customers that we produce award-winning material. Plus, for me
personally, I find it very helpful to have feedback from other industry
professionals. For example, in our local STC competitions, judges have
written comments in the documentation my company has provided. This has
proven useful to my team, because we can then analyze the comments to
determine what we need to change about our documentation. And participating
in the local STC competitions has allowed my team to see how other companies
produce their documentation. It's educational, as well as inspiring.

On the other hand, I've sometimes questioned whether peer evaluation really
and truly "certifies" our materials as useable. We take our customers'
opinions seriously, and try to implement their suggestions to produce more
useable documentation. IMHO, no amount of peer awards can ever replace user
input. So it is a little frustrating to approach a customer with the
attitude of this is award-winning documentation, and you the customer are
pointing out the problems with the documentation from your perspective. For
my team, that keeps us humble :-}

There is, however, a final reason why my team wants to create award-winning
documentation that has nothing to do with the above: justify our existence.
This is a reality for my team, as my company grows and as we look at
removing departments/teams that no longer add value to my company. I am VERY
lucky in that my team is a profit center, which has not been the case in
other companies I've worked for. Since we are a profit center, it adds to
our value to produce award-winning documentation. My director has provided a
budget to enter more than one competition this year. (Usually we just enter
the local STC competition.) So this says much about how important it is to
show upper management that we are striving toward producing the best
documentation we can.

I hope that answers your question, which is very valid in today's economy.

Thank you very much.

Anna Langley
Courseware Team
Check Point Software Technologies, Ltd.

"Get Check Point Certified"
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tremendous ROI and are some of the fastest growing in the industry.
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-----Original Message-----
From: bounce-techwr-l-115068 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
[mailto:bounce-techwr-l-115068 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com]On Behalf Of John
Sent: Tuesday, April 01, 2003 10:19 AM

>Do you know of any industry competitions we can enter? My company
>usually enters the STC local chapter's publication competition.
>But I'm trying to find other organizations that sponsor
>competitions for training materials, both print and multimedia.
>We use FrameMaker, Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint,
>and Macromedia authoring tools (Dreamweaver and Flash).


Please don't take this as a criticism, and please, nobody jump on this post
as a criticism of her request...that would only stifle the conversation.

The question: Why?

I could see if you were a vendor; someone who sells your ability to produce
high-quality deliverables and awards are quite valuable in the marketing

However, since Check Point Software Technologies is in the internet security
biz (I even checked out your web site), of what value is it to the company
(and documentation department) to claim documentation awards?

As I'm writing this, it "sounds" like a criticism, but it's really not...if
I could see the benefit to you, that same benefit may apply to one of us
when it hadn't previously occurred.

John Posada
Senior Technical Writer
jposada -at- book -dot- com
NY: 212-414-6656
Dayton: 732-438-3372
"Alright, nobody move! I've got a dragon here, and I'm not afraid to use it"
---------- Donkey

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