Managing the Transition to XML

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Slides from my presentation at tcworld India 2012. Covers what you can expect when moving to XML as well as the Scriptorium 12-step plan for making the transition to XML.

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  • Denial Anger Bargaining Depression acceptance
  • Managing the Transition to XML

    1. 1. Managing the Transition to XML Simon Bate Scriptorium Publishing
    2. 2. About me <ul><li>Simon Bate
    3. 3. Sr. Technical Consultant at Scriptorium
    4. 4. Certified Technical Trainer
    5. 5. 30+ years Tech Comm experience
    6. 6. 5 years of DITA and DITA OT experience </li></ul>
    7. 7. About Scriptorium <ul><li>Content Strategy for Technical Communication
    8. 8. Analyze
    9. 9. Develop strategy
    10. 10. Implement
    11. 11. Transform
    12. 12. Train </li></ul>
    13. 13. Overview <ul><li>What to Expect
    14. 14. What NOT to do
    15. 15. What to do (12-step plan) </li></ul>
    16. 16. What to expect...
    17. 17. Changes to authoring process <ul><li>Topic-based authoring
    18. 18. Possible to use structure without topics </li><ul><li>But you miss the big win (re-use)
    19. 19. Difficult to store in CCMS </li></ul><li>Unstructured legacy content </li><ul><li>Might be transformable
    20. 20. But perhaps not </li></ul></ul>
    21. 21. Changing Roles and Skills <ul><li>Out </li><ul><li>Production editors </li></ul><li>Maybe </li><ul><li>Template experts </li></ul><li>In </li><ul><li>XSLT experts
    22. 22. XSL-FO experts
    23. 23. Developmental editors
    24. 24. Content librarians/curators </li></ul></ul>
    25. 25. Tool changes <ul><li>WYSIOO </li><ul><li>“ What You See Is One Option” </li></ul><li>Metadata
    26. 26. Expect a loss of productivity during transition </li></ul>
    27. 27. Creating graphics is different <ul><li>No integrated tools
    28. 28. Limited support for some formats
    29. 29. But, exciting possibilities in XML graphics </li><ul><li>SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics)
    30. 30. MathML </li></ul></ul>
    31. 31. Creating new output formats <ul><li>Cannot simply redefine a template with a different page size.
    32. 32. Must modify transformations
    33. 33. (Trade-off with lowered DTP costs) </li></ul>
    34. 34. Component Content Management System <ul><li>Manages topics
    35. 35. Helps with search
    36. 36. Helps with re-use </li><ul><li>“ Which output uses?” search </li></ul><li>Integrated output processing
    37. 37. Version labeling </li></ul>
    38. 38. Training and education <ul><li>Training </li><ul><li>Content creators
    39. 39. Information systems people </li></ul><li>Education </li><ul><li>New processes
    40. 40. Spread the word
    41. 41. Any team you interact with
    42. 42. Includes management </li></ul></ul>
    43. 43. Set management expectations <ul><li>Includes IT </li><ul><li>CCMS may require their support. </li></ul><li>When cost savings will occur
    44. 44. Get them thinking </li><ul><li>What can you do with the XML that you couldn't do before? </li></ul></ul>
    45. 45. Set your expectations <ul><li>Structured authoring isn't for everyone
    46. 46. Some content creators will get upset
    47. 47. Some will come around
    48. 48. Others will leave </li></ul>
    49. 49. Moving to structure...
    50. 50. What not to do: <ul><li>Pick an architecture </li><ul><li>(by what criteria?) </li></ul><li>Pick a tool </li><ul><li>(does it match your deliverables?) </li></ul><li>Train the writers on the tool </li><ul><li>(they're the only ones who need to know?) </li></ul><li>Convert </li><ul><li>(should be a 1:1 mapping, right?) </li></ul><li>Go! </li><ul><li>(fail) </li></ul></ul>
    51. 51. 12-Step Plan... <ul><li>Goals and metrics
    52. 52. Roles
    53. 53. Milestones
    54. 54. Structure analysis
    55. 55. Structure definition
    56. 56. Pilot </li></ul><ul><li>Legacy strategy
    57. 57. Training
    58. 58. Documentation
    59. 59. Change management
    60. 60. Transition support
    61. 61. Evaluation </li></ul>
    62. 62. Step 1: Identify goals and metrics <ul><li>From your Content Strategy
    63. 63. Deliverables (type, media, frequency, audience)
    64. 64. Tool-specific requirements or constraints </li></ul>
    65. 65. Step 2: Define roles and responsibilities <ul><li>Who does what in transition
    66. 66. Roles include: </li><ul><li>Education
    67. 67. Development
    68. 68. Review
    69. 69. Approval </li></ul><li>If using consultants </li><ul><li>Establish who does what </li></ul></ul>
    70. 70. Step 3: Establish milestones <ul><li>Schedule creates accountability </li><ul><li>No schedule = low priority </li></ul><li>Helps maintain scope
    71. 71. Include slack for delays </li><ul><li>Reviewer availability </li></ul></ul>
    72. 72. Step 4: Perform structure analysis <ul><li>Requirements from Content Strategy
    73. 73. Develop taxonomy and metadata
    74. 74. Consider future requirements </li></ul>
    75. 75. Step 5: Structure definition and output <ul><li>Either: </li><ul><li>Choose structure (DITA, DocBook S1000D)
    76. 76. Create structure definition files (DTD, schema) </li></ul><li>Modify authoring tool for structure
    77. 77. Output transformations </li><ul><li>Before pilot, just one
    78. 78. Either </li><ul><li>Most common
    79. 79. Most risky </li></ul><li>Enough to test most assumptions </li></ul></ul>
    80. 80. Step 6: Pilot <ul><li>Candidate project </li><ul><li>Not largest or smallest
    81. 81. Most representative </li></ul><li>Pilot ensures </li><ul><li>Assumptions are correct
    82. 82. Everyone is on the same page
    83. 83. Groups are communicating clearly
    84. 84. Time for course correction </li></ul><li>Rarely do pilots halt transitions </li></ul>
    85. 85. Step 7: Develop legacy content strategy <ul><li>Consider conversion vs. re-writing
    86. 86. Depends on the quality of the source content
    87. 87. Convert legacy documents </li><ul><li>if necessary </li></ul><li>Consider “as-needed” strategy </li></ul>
    88. 88. Step 8: Develop training <ul><li>Background and rationale
    89. 89. Structured authoring and XML
    90. 90. Using the authoring tool
    91. 91. Using the CMS </li><ul><li>Teach process , as well as the tool </li></ul><li>Other tools </li><ul><li>Graphics </li></ul></ul>
    92. 92. Step 9: Develop documentation <ul><li>Background and rationale
    93. 93. Structure explanations
    94. 94. Recommended best practices
    95. 95. In-depth technical doc (for developers)
    96. 96. Formatting specifications </li></ul>
    97. 97. Step 10: Create change management process <ul><li>Managing changes in your system
    98. 98. Similar to any software development project
    99. 99. Changes will occur </li><ul><li>Structure changes
    100. 100. New output
    101. 101. Software upgrades </li></ul><li>Track changes
    102. 102. Make and distribute in an organized manner
    103. 103. Scheduled changes vs. as-needed </li></ul>
    104. 104. Step 11: Providing transition support <ul><li>As content creators ramp up
    105. 105. Shift from development to maintenance
    106. 106. If using contractors </li><ul><li>Ensure you have in-house knowledge
    107. 107. Follow-on support agreement </li></ul></ul>
    108. 108. Step 12: Evaluation <ul><li>Validate against goals and metrics </li><ul><li>From Step 1 </li></ul><li>Report to management
    109. 109. Enjoy what you've accomplished
    110. 110. Now...what's next? </li></ul>
    111. 111. Summary <ul><li>Content strategy drives all
    112. 112. Set expectations
    113. 113. Plan. Plan. Plan.
    114. 114. Pilot helps with course correction
    115. 115. Plan for change </li></ul>
    116. 116. Questions?
    117. 117. Contact information Simon Bate Scriptorium Publishing www.scriptorium.com [email_address] twitter: @simonbate +1.919.433.2606

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