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FICO’s Journey to DITA: The Shift from Unstructured FrameMaker to DITA and Beyond
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FICO’s Journey to DITA: The Shift from Unstructured FrameMaker to DITA and Beyond

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Four years ago, FICO started on a journey to align the technical writing organization with several key business imperatives, which resulted in the documentation moving to DITA. Once the Technical …

Four years ago, FICO started on a journey to align the technical writing organization with several key business imperatives, which resulted in the documentation moving to DITA. Once the Technical Publications department sold their vision to the executives, how did the managers and writers shift to this new structured way of authoring? What were their steps to DITA adoption in record time? Learn about their key successes, the obstacles they overcame, and their current results. During the last three years, the DITA deployment has matured and the team is now looking at taking DITA adoption to the next level. This talk shares FICO’s past, present, and future vision with DITA.

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  • 1. FICO’s Journey to DITA The Shift from Unstructured FrameMaker to DITA and Beyond Kathryn Mellos Mahoney Technical Publications Senior Manager FICO February 24, 2012 Confidential. This presentation is provided for the recipient only and cannot be reproduced or shared without Fair Isaac Corporations express consent.1 © 2010 Fair Isaac Corporation.
  • 2. Agenda » The Problem » The Solution » The Shift » Current Results » Next Steps2 © 2010 Fair Isaac Corporation. Confidential. © 2010 Fair Isaac Corporation. Confidential.
  • 3. The Problem ―It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.‖ Albert Einstein3 © 2010 Fair Isaac Corporation. Confidential.
  • 4. The Journey Started Long Before FICO » 1997—Word and RoboHTML » Globalink Power Translator Pro and Simply Translating User’s Guides and Help » The two products share much of the same code, the latter including a subset of the former’s features. » 2000—More Word and RoboHelp » HNC Falcon Fraud Manager Credit and Debit Data Specifications » The two documents are largely the same, with identical feed layouts but different valid values and definitions based on the market. » 2004—Unstructured FrameMaker » Fair Isaac Falcon Fraud Manager Credit and Debit Data Specifications, for UNIX and Mainframe » The four documents have the same problem as before, but conditional text alleviates some of the superficial problems. » 2009—XMetaL with SDL Trisoft Bridge » FICO...Same Data Specifications, Data Dictionary and Database Reference » Five documents created using Excel spreadsheets converted into DITA4 topics with conditional text via Python scripts. © 2010 Fair Isaac Corporation. Confidential.
  • 5. The Destination I need to get the best reuse, the most flexibility, and the greatest consistency out of my topics. I want to do the work once and have it affect all of my deliverables.5 © 2010 Fair Isaac Corporation. Confidential.
  • 6. The Solution ―Focus 90% of your time on solutions and only 10% of your time on problems.‖ Anthony J. D’Angelo6 © 2010 Fair Isaac Corporation. Confidential.
  • 7. Why Did the Executives Choose DITA? » Significant translation savings » Automation: Efficient scripting, build integration achieved » Flexible deliverables: PDF, Eclipse Help, platforms, re-branding » Reuse: Fewer writer/reviewer resources, early consumption by next product, localization readiness, cost savings.7 © 2010 Fair Isaac Corporation. Confidential.
  • 8. What Did the Managers Think? » ―YAY! REUSE!!!‖ » ―Be careful what you wish for...‖ » ―We will need training.‖ » ―This will be a challenge.‖ » ―How can I manage people through the change?‖ » ―I hope I don’t lose people because of this.‖8 © 2010 Fair Isaac Corporation. Confidential.
  • 9. What Did the Writers Think? » ―I like the tools we have.‖ » ―This looks too hard.‖ » ―I want to have control over the layout.‖ » ―The templates are too rigid.‖ » ―It will take longer for me to do my job.‖ » ―We don’t need it.‖ » ―We won’t have more than one person working on a single book.‖ » ―Our books are fine as they are.‖9 © 2010 Fair Isaac Corporation. Confidential.
  • 10. The Shift ―With great power comes great responsibility.‖ Thomas Francis Gilroy10 © 2010 Fair Isaac Corporation. Confidential.
  • 11. The Journey Begins in Earnest— DITA Implementation Timeline Q3, 2008 Q4, 2008 Q1, 2009 »DITA »Common »Design »Trisoft »Common »Processes »Trisoft CMS »Combine»InfoCenter »Final Falcon Training Help DITA CMS and involving other in production topics docs in review component processes setup product departments topics » DITA/XMetaL training » Finalize Trisoft configuration » Trisoft Component Content » Workgroups develop essays to » Develop and document Management System find a common understanding department DITA standards » Production environment ready of their areas. Identify key and procedures » Train department members terms. » DITA Authoring Guide– » DITA Authoring Guide–Trisoft » Develop context-sensitive Help XMetaL and element usage » Develop and review product- delivery mechanism with » Base DITA templates and specific and common topics Common Components group reusable components » Combine common and product » Begin DITA department » Initial writing style and topics into deliverables for review standards, templates, output process guidelines checklist » Develop InfoCenter delivery scripts » Initial DITA output scripts for mechanism with Common » Committee charters, team PDF in FICO ―look and feel‖ Components group sites, communication » Plan and develop common » Customize Antenna House for processes topics –Content Specs Eclipse Help publication » Initial issues lists, plans » Glossary terms » Topic automation via SDL Trisoft » DITA conversion of usable » Workgroups API for data formats and legacy documentation started descriptions in Excel (used localization budget from savings in DITA) » Finalize output scripts for PDF, Help » Lessons learned: You can’t think through all of the problem details before you start. If you spend too much time up front speaking in generalities and predictions, you will have wonderful conversations that may have little to do with the practical nature of your information.11 © 2010 Fair Isaac Corporation. Confidential.
  • 12. The Journey Continues— Feature Implementation Timeline Q2, 2009 Q3, 2009 Q4, 2009 »First partial release in DITA »Second release in DITA— »Tools »Second »Second full doc Full doc set upgrade product in set released in DITA DITA » First release of deliverables » 100% of the documentation set » Tools upgrade. using DITA. in DITA. » Start Insurance Fraud Manager » Opportunity to reinvent the » Start freezing the publication documentation in DITA. documentation set with baselines or using source- » Convert existing FrameMaker Falcon 6.0. control management to archive documents with third-party vendor. » 40% of the documentation deliverable source. » Start with high reuse documents. set in DITA; focus on the » Send remaining FrameMaker » Second complete doc set in DITA. highest level of reuse. documents to the vendor for conversion. » Synchronize book introductions. » Introduce Python scripts. » Add simple conditional text. » Introduce Context References » Reuse a common appendix (conrefs) for overview topics that for Contacting FICO. have a high level of reuse. » Agree on a common set of » Lessons learned: It is » Add more Python scripts. variable libraries, three levels important to have your work deep. under source control so that » XMetaL—Table macros you can duplicate or tweak » Lessons learned: Get it in DITA, books based on their final then synchronize the topics. » Common topics for Case published state. Manager. » Lessons learned: You don’t have to do it all in one release. Add complexity as you master each skill.12 © 2010 Fair Isaac Corporation. Confidential.
  • 13. Features Continue to be Added with Each Release… 1H, 2010 H2, 2010 »Customized »Add »Localization »Maximize »Increase reuse placeholder reltables screenshots across products topics » Use placeholder copyright text to create custom » Focus on Localization copyright files. » Considerations around screenshots. Use variables, » Clean up UIElements, variables, etc. conditional text, or different topics? » Add Relationship Tables (reltables) » More products using the same topics. » Add AuthorAssistant (terminology facilitator) » More conditional text. » Lessons learned: Use conditions on entire » Lessons learned: Do not use XML cross sentences, not phrases within sentences. Be references in topics. When they are used by consistent with variable usage and stringing variables. another publication that does not include the topic, the links will break.13 © 2010 Fair Isaac Corporation. Confidential.
  • 14. …as our Expertise Grows. 1H, 2011 H2, 2011 »System »Add more »Common »Common deliverable Requirements Information copyright topic elements conrefs Architecture » Introduce Context References (conrefs) for » Use a common copyright topic. system requirements. Create once and use in five » Common organization for book types. deliverables with two different formats. » More information architecture. Sharing maps » Lessons learned: Just because something is across products and workgroups different, you don’t have to create a new topic. » Lessons learned: Just because you can reuse something, does not mean you should.14 © 2010 Fair Isaac Corporation. Confidential.
  • 15. Current Results ―I believe that if you show people the problems, and you show them the solutions, they will be moved to act.‖ Bill Gates15 © 2010 Fair Isaac Corporation. Confidential.
  • 16. Where we are….. » Reuse exceeds 25% projection » Falcon Fraud Manager—73% » Insurance Fraud Manager Installation Guide—90% » We have robust publications, rich with shared topics, conditional text, reltables, graphics, conrefs, and variables. » Our output is consistent and reliable. Our centralized production allows for no lag time for updates. » Our publications are being translated. » Our tools provide us with quick access to previous versions of individual topics and publications.16 © 2010 Fair Isaac Corporation. Confidential.
  • 17. Next Steps ―It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems….Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on.‖ Richard P. Feynman17 © 2010 Fair Isaac Corporation. Confidential.
  • 18. …and Beyond 2012 »DITA with Agile »Adoption in other groups »New delivery methods »Additional tools » Use DITA in an Agile Environment. » Explore DITA adoption in Development, Education, Scoring. » Pilot XOpus/LiveContent. » Reuse our DITA topics to deliver information in different methods. » Create a richer and more defined experience for user assistance. Link to other media, including: » user forums » video tutorials » examples » knowledge bases » real-time feedback on documentation » receive documentation updates18 © 2010 Fair Isaac Corporation. Confidential.
  • 19. ―The message from the moon…is that no problem need be considered insolvable.‖ Norman Cousins19 © 2010 Fair Isaac Corporation. Confidential.
  • 20. THANK YOU Kathryn Mellos Mahoney 858-369-8445 kathrynmahoney@fico.com February 24, 2012 Confidential. This presentation is provided for the recipient only and cannot be reproduced or shared without Fair Isaac Corporations express consent.20 © 2010 Fair Isaac Corporation.