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Enhancing Collaboration
Through a Documentation
Process
Kim Chmielewicz
Rochester Chapter
Why discuss collaboration
via documentation?
4/17/2014 2Enhancing Collaboration
 Very often, team members are focused on ...
IT Tools Need To Focus On
Service Information
4/17/2014 3Enhancing Collaboration
 IT = information technology; most of us...
But Service By Any Other Name
Would Not Smell As Sweet . . .
4/17/2014 4Enhancing Collaboration
 Service name: Sounds ele...
Anyone Can Put Stuff In A Table,
But What’s In The Report?
4/17/2014 5Enhancing Collaboration
 All businesses transfer in...
So Why Should I Care?
4/17/2014 6Enhancing Collaboration
 We still rely on human effort as no automated tool exists that ...
Collaborative Documents
4/17/2014 7Enhancing Collaboration
1) Goal log
2) Policies
3) Procedures
4) Approval/dependency tr...
Goal Log
4/17/2014 8How To Write Well (Enough)
IDEAL: Smaller goal listing within service provision
 Creates specific goa...
Policies/Procedures
4/17/2014 9Enhancing Collaboration
IDEAL: Align all service tasks with decreed standards/outcomes
 Po...
Approval/Dependency Tree
4/17/2014 10How To Write Well (Enough)
IDEAL: The approval tree is a helpful tool for reminding t...
Action/Agreement Logs
4/17/2014 11How To Write Well (Enough)
IDEAL: Action/agreement logs are streamlined records of actio...
4/17/2014 Kim Chmielewicz 12
Action Log Sample: SGML to HTML manual conversion
Service Stage Action Name Description Actor...
Who Should Be Involved?
4/17/2014 13Enhancing Collaboration
1) Everyone: If you have specific functions or tasks that only...
Takeaways
4/17/2014 14Enhancing Collaboration
 Spend extra time developing documentation templates to convey
clear work e...
References
4/17/2014 15Enhancing Collaboration
 My email is Mhcmik@aim.com if you have additional questions on
this prese...
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Enhancing collaboration

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Transcript of "Enhancing collaboration"

  1. 1. Enhancing Collaboration Through a Documentation Process Kim Chmielewicz Rochester Chapter
  2. 2. Why discuss collaboration via documentation? 4/17/2014 2Enhancing Collaboration  Very often, team members are focused on completing their own individual tasks, and organization-wide documentation is truncated except when immediate needs require it (audits . . .)  Technical writers’ unique perspectives in overseeing operational, service, project, and proof of concept functions allows us to discern hidden collaboration channels  Appropriate collaboration drives successful documentation processes, better operational and service management, and permits more robust support with less effort – value!
  3. 3. IT Tools Need To Focus On Service Information 4/17/2014 3Enhancing Collaboration  IT = information technology; most of us focus on the technology, but it is only as valuable as the information communicated  All companies provide services in some form  Service may be entirely self-supporting, in collaboration with other departments, in collaboration with other locations, and/or in collaboration with third-party providers  With so many combinations of service providers possible, a clear understanding of service responsibilities is essential to ensure effective service delivery
  4. 4. But Service By Any Other Name Would Not Smell As Sweet . . . 4/17/2014 4Enhancing Collaboration  Service name: Sounds elementary, but a glossary may be helpful if your organization uses a lot of specified terminology  Service inclusions: What do we provide as part of the service?  Service exclusions: What don’t we provide?  Service duration: How long will the service be provided for?  Service roles: Who is responsible for what functions  Service documentation/communication: When, how, where, and by whom descriptions of the service, its provisions, and other associated knowledge are maintained  Service cost: If your service scope is adequately defined, it assists greatly in deciding what price(s) will be charged
  5. 5. Anyone Can Put Stuff In A Table, But What’s In The Report? 4/17/2014 5Enhancing Collaboration  All businesses transfer information to help provide service  Similar to service provision, information may be shared internally (only within your team), in collaboration with other departments, in collaboration with other locations, and/or in collaboration with third-party providers  The importance of conveying information correctly cannot be underestimated in the context of service provision  Despite all of the advances made in the means of storing, sorting, and maintaining data, basic information transfer still relies on the research, organization and writing skills of at least one (and preferably, more) people within an organization
  6. 6. So Why Should I Care? 4/17/2014 6Enhancing Collaboration  We still rely on human effort as no automated tool exists that will break down a process or procedure into its component tasks or parts  But because of the ease of producing documentation, two factors that underlie information sharing are made much simpler: 1) Document production (can be done via text editor); and 2) Document distribution (can be done via email).  The result: No excuses exist for putting off collaborative documentation anymore - you already have all the tools you need!
  7. 7. Collaborative Documents 4/17/2014 7Enhancing Collaboration 1) Goal log 2) Policies 3) Procedures 4) Approval/dependency tree 5) Action/agreement log
  8. 8. Goal Log 4/17/2014 8How To Write Well (Enough) IDEAL: Smaller goal listing within service provision  Creates specific goals to permit better understanding of the chain of events that complete service delivery  Makes goals more visible to team members completing service tasks  Translates abstract wishes into specific actions
  9. 9. Policies/Procedures 4/17/2014 9Enhancing Collaboration IDEAL: Align all service tasks with decreed standards/outcomes  Policies: Governance/requirements specific to an industry, company, or accreditation agency overseeing business practices  Procedures: The individual and/or interconnected processes used to conduct business and fulfill delivery requirements
  10. 10. Approval/Dependency Tree 4/17/2014 10How To Write Well (Enough) IDEAL: The approval tree is a helpful tool for reminding team members of their obligations to complete service tasks in a timely fashion  A dependency tree tracks tasks that can be streamlined and completed simultaneously  Therefore, by tracking approvals and dependencies separately, you will increase the efficiency of service work by identifying places where there are lags, which may simplify product/service delivery processes
  11. 11. Action/Agreement Logs 4/17/2014 11How To Write Well (Enough) IDEAL: Action/agreement logs are streamlined records of actions taken and by whom  The logs create a single reference point and can be referenced easily  Action logs are helpful to use for services in which many small, simultaneous tasks must be completed and tracked  Agreement logs also assist in keeping track of agreed-upon solutions  List dates, a simple description of the action or agreement, and who will implement tasks
  12. 12. 4/17/2014 Kim Chmielewicz 12 Action Log Sample: SGML to HTML manual conversion Service Stage Action Name Description Actors Action(s) taken Initial manual review Brief initial review Quick check to update components, edit, clarify Kim Jan Resaved source files Created new graphics Word to SGML conversion Realign tables Tables have dangling misaligned cells Kim Betty Retagged tables Edited DTD script SGML to HTML conversion Post- conversion review Recheck HTML file against Word file Kim Sharon Distributed latest copies Marked new edits HTML delivery File delivery Submit file to online library for use Kim Set chapters, zipped files, downloaded NOTE: This action log reflects a set procedure for manual conversion, so dates could be added to reflect when work is actually completed for each manual. Listings with dates can be added in for unplanned steps as they are completed.
  13. 13. Who Should Be Involved? 4/17/2014 13Enhancing Collaboration 1) Everyone: If you have specific functions or tasks that only you do, they should be recorded somewhere; all team members should have a personal wiki space or individual hard drive for their self-documentation 2) Operational groups: If your team has certain functional divisions, have someone from within each group coordinate that function’s documentation 3) Service groups: Similar to operational groups, but organized around service provision 4) Project/proof of concept teams: Similar to both (2) and (3); have the additional caveat that projects or POCs that birth new products/services will need to have documentation incorporated into operational and service groups
  14. 14. Takeaways 4/17/2014 14Enhancing Collaboration  Spend extra time developing documentation templates to convey clear work expectations and make management easier  Updating action and agreement logs require little time as they permit quick entries without format wrestling  Simple Word documents and Excel spreadsheets work just fine for most purposes  Plan and consider what information is most relevant to record when setting up documentation  Updating and sharing documentation consistently is the key to collaborative success
  15. 15. References 4/17/2014 15Enhancing Collaboration  My email is Mhcmik@aim.com if you have additional questions on this presentation or about how to create collaborative documentation  For more information on document management, I recommend taking a look at the website for the Society for Technical Communication at www.stc.org. Much of the content is open for viewing by non-members, and includes seminar recordings as well as interesting articles – check it out!  Thank you for your attention – hopefully I’ve given you some ideas for how to develop a documentation process for collaboration. Happy shared writing!
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