RE: Start at the very beginning...

Subject: RE: Start at the very beginning...
From: "McKinney, Suzanne" <smckinney -at- eei1 -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2005 10:49:05 -0400


Arroxane,

I've been there and done that both in the past and more recently.

I would proceed as follows:

1) Start writing a corporate style guide -- covering manuals/user docs
in one volume, marketing in another, tech docs in another; the styles
are very different from one to the next.

2) Create templates for the various kinds of material.

1 & 2: Send out to employees, or at least let them know where the stuff
is for reading/use. Let them know that these are for their use, not just
yours, especially if you're going to be editing documents written by
others. We're starting to produce a monthly e-mail with tricks and tips,
both for writing (e.g., affect vs. effect) and tools (well, we're stuck
with Word, so there's lots to write about). And ALWAYS reference the
style guides and templates!

3) Work on whatever's needed immediately, in the process determining
some of the style issues.

4) Present information about how valuable usability is in terms of
improving both the customer and partner impression of the company as
well as cutting down on tech support costs.

5) Central system: not sure about that. We just use SourceSafe here and
put everything in that (docs, code, etc.). Perhaps an intranet might be
another idea. Whatever it is, you'll have to be the expert and make sure
you provide all the info on how to use it.

Hope this helps.
Sue McKinney


----------------------------------------------------------------------

Subject: Start at the very beginning...
From: arroxaneullman -at- aol -dot- com
Date: Mon, 11 Apr 2005 14:11:59 -0400
X-Message-Number: 58

Hello all,

I've need to set things up (and straight) at a small specialty
software company. I'd like advice from those who may have been the
trailblazers in small or mid-size organizations.

To give you an idea of what I'm up against,

- Manuals and user documents were outsourced
- Marketing materials and white papers originated internally and then
were outsourced (to a different company than the manuals)
- They lack any library, document management system, knowledge base,
etc.
- They lack a standards or style guide
- They have a stronger relationship with partners than customers
(e.g., usability isn't their priority)
- They desire a central system linking all information, references,
documentation, support experiences, internal and external materials,
etc.

All this and the usual writing and editing any company needs. I'm not
in over my head, but I could use a few tips on where to start to get
this all organized. Perhaps knowledge management software?

Suggestions?

Thanks!

Arroxane


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