Implementing ISO 26514 in Your Workplace

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Implementing ISO 26514 in Your Workplace

  1. 1. Implementing ISO/IEC 26514 in your workplace <ul><li>(And why should technical communicators care about standards, anyway?) </li></ul><ul><li>George Hayhoe </li></ul><ul><li>Mercer University School of Engineering </li></ul>
  2. 2. What will we be talking about today? <ul><li>How are standards developed? </li></ul><ul><li>What standards are relevant to technical communicators in industry and in academe? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the requirements for implementing ISO/IEC 26514? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the benefits of implementing ISO/IEC 26514? </li></ul>
  3. 3. How are ISO/IEC standards developed?
  4. 4. What is a technical standard? <ul><li>“… [A] formal document that establishes uniform engineering or technical criteria, methods, processes and practices” ( Wikipedia ) </li></ul><ul><li>Issued by a respected, authoritative entity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>UL, IEEE </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NIST, Standards Council of Canada, BSI </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ISO/IEC </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. ISOspeak lesson 1 <ul><li>ISO/IEC: International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission </li></ul><ul><li>JTC1/SC7: Joint Technical Committee 1, subcommittee 7, responsible for software and systems engineering standards </li></ul><ul><li>WG2: Working group 2, responsible for user documentation </li></ul>
  6. 6. What is unique about ISO/IEC standards? <ul><li>Represent the efforts of experts from a minimum of 5 countries </li></ul><ul><li>Iteratively drafted and balloted, with all technical comments resolved </li></ul><ul><li>Published by ISO and widely adopted around the world </li></ul>
  7. 7. ISOspeak lesson 2 <ul><li>Editorial comments </li></ul><ul><li>Technical comments </li></ul><ul><li>WD: Working draft (not balloted) </li></ul><ul><li>CD: One or more committee drafts and ballots </li></ul><ul><li>FCD: Final committee draft and ballot </li></ul><ul><li>FDIS: Final draft international standard and ballot (no technical comments allowed) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Where does the working draft come from? <ul><li>Existing organizational, national, or international standards </li></ul><ul><li>Book and article descriptions of best practices </li></ul><ul><li>Working group discussions about best practices </li></ul><ul><li>The vast majority of WG members are volunteers. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Schedule for ISO/IEC 26514 <ul><li>Working draft/committee draft written (May 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Ballot comments resolved (November 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Final committee draft written (December 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Ballot comments resolved (May 2007) </li></ul><ul><li>Final draft international standard written (October 2007) </li></ul><ul><li>Ballot comments resolved (May 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>International standard published (June 2008) </li></ul>
  10. 10. What standards are relevant to technical communicators in industry and in academe?
  11. 11. JTC1/SC7/WG2 suite of standards <ul><li>26511: Requirements for managers of user documentation (CD being prepared) </li></ul><ul><li>26512: Requirements for acquirers and suppliers of user documentation (FDIS being prepared) </li></ul><ul><li>26513: Requirements for testers and assessors of user documentation (published 2010) </li></ul><ul><li>26514: Requirements for designers and developers of user documentation (published 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>26515: Developing user documentation in an agile environment (CD being prepared) </li></ul>
  12. 12. What information does ISO/IEC 26514 contain?
  13. 13. First it defines the process. <ul><li>“ The first part of this standard covers the user documentation process for designers and developers of documentation. It describes how to establish what information users need, how to determine the way in which that information should be presented to the users, and how to design the information and make it available. It is not limited to the design and development phase of the life cycle, but includes activities throughout the information management and documentation processes.” (p. 1) </li></ul>
  14. 14. Then it defines minimum requirements. <ul><li>“ The second part of this standard provides minimum requirements for the structure, information content, and format of user documentation, including both printed and on-screen documents used in the work environment by users of systems containing software. It applies to printed user manuals, online help, tutorials, and user reference documentation.” (p. 1) </li></ul>
  15. 15. There are no surprises. <ul><li>Best practices in documentation processes reflect Hackos’s Managing Your Information Projects (1994). </li></ul><ul><li>Requirements for usability testing reflect Hackos and Redish’s User and Task Analysis for Interface Design (1998) and Barnum’s Usability Testing and Research (2002). </li></ul>
  16. 16. What do we mean by conformance to ISO/IEC 26514 requirements?
  17. 17. How can your organization claim conformance? <ul><li>An organization may claim conformance for </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Its documentation process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Its documents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Both its process and its documents </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The standard is meant to be tailored: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To apply to necessary requirements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To apply to cost-effective requirements </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Conformance situations <ul><li>You may claim and document conformance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For the organization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For a project </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For a multi-supplier program </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For individual documentation products or document sets </li></ul></ul><ul><li>You may also use the standard as guidance. </li></ul>
  19. 19. ISOspeak lesson 3 <ul><li>Shall indicates a binding provision. </li></ul><ul><li>Should indicates a recommendation. </li></ul><ul><li>Change shall to should if you are using the standard as guidance rather than claiming conformance. </li></ul><ul><li>May indicates a permissible course of action. </li></ul>
  20. 20. What are the benefits of implementing ISO 26514?
  21. 21. The standard benefits both industry and academe. <ul><li>Enhanced credibility and leverage with management </li></ul><ul><li>Better prepared graduates </li></ul><ul><li>Improved hiring and human resources criteria </li></ul><ul><li>Greater consistency of products and processes </li></ul>
  22. 22. Activity <ul><li>Outline a memo to your boss. </li></ul><ul><li>Explain significance of ISO/IEC 26514. </li></ul><ul><li>Describe advantages to your organizations of adopting the standard. </li></ul><ul><li>Suggest an implementation plan. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Your turn <ul><li>Questions? </li></ul><ul><li>Comments? </li></ul><ul><li>Experience with this or other standards? </li></ul>

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