Successful Single-Source Content Development


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This presentation looks at why single-source content development is rapidly becoming a strategic initiative within organizations. Content management experts, Dawn Stevens of Comtech & Stuart Grossman of Xyleme, show you how to design granular content for reusability across products, functions & delivery modalities and assess your organization’s readiness for the move to single source. To view webinar please visit:

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Successful Single-Source Content Development

  1. 1. Successful Single-source Content DevelopmentStructured Writing for Reusability<br />Comtech ▪ Xyleme, Inc.<br />
  2. 2. Our Presenters<br />Dawn Stevens<br />Senior Consultant<br />Comtech Services<br />Stuart Grossman<br />VP of Client Services<br />Xyleme, Inc.<br />
  3. 3. During the Webinar<br /> Use your Q&A pane to type any questions you may have for our speakers.<br />
  4. 4. Agenda<br />What is single-source content development?<br />Assessing management, personnel and process readiness. <br />Best practices for structured writing.<br />Delivery readiness for documentation and training<br />Selecting a pilot project and use case<br />
  5. 5. Poll<br />
  6. 6. We currently create learning in output silos.<br />Classroom<br />eLearning<br />Performance Support<br />Mobile<br />Multiple Teams<br />Word, PowerPoint, FrameMaker<br />Articulate, Captivate, Lectora<br />Objective C, HTML, Proprietary Tools<br />DreamWeaver, RoboHelp, Word<br />Multiple Tools<br />Instructor/Student Guides, Slides, <br />Handouts, Exams<br />Web Courses, Assessments, Certifications<br />Job Aids, Help Files, Reference Manuals<br />Tablets, <br />Smartphones, <br />eBook readers<br />Multiple Outputs<br />Multiple Languages<br />
  7. 7. Structured writing gives us...<br />After<br />Before<br />Instructor’s Guides<br />Participant Guides<br /></xml><br />Handout Packs<br />Slide Deck<br />Assessments<br />E-learning<br />Performance Support<br />Mobile<br />Reference Guides<br />
  8. 8. Reusable and single-source content<br />Source<br />New Course<br />Repository<br />
  9. 9. Single-Source Publishing Process<br />
  10. 10. A New Way to See Learning Content<br />
  11. 11. How to Know What is Reusable<br />
  12. 12. Keep Shared Content Context Neutral<br />Manufacturing Operator<br />Quality Associate<br />
  13. 13. How Do I Make it Relevant?<br />Course 1<br />Introduction<br />1<br />General Content<br />Not Shared<br />Example<br />Shared<br />Non-Example<br />2<br />General Content<br />Summary<br />
  14. 14. Where Could the Object Appear?<br />Course 1<br />Course 2<br />1<br />2<br />Not Shared<br />Shared<br />2<br />3<br />
  15. 15. Why Go Through the Transition?<br />Increases speed to market/delivery <br /><ul><li>Updated products
  16. 16. Customized modules to support verticals/audiences
  17. 17. Localized changes to meet global requirements</li></ul>Lowers production costs<br /><ul><li>Write once, use many times
  18. 18. Revise once, update everywhere
  19. 19. Reduce production activities</li></ul>Enables new delivery channels<br /><ul><li>XML future-proofs content
  20. 20. Ready for deployment to any new devices
  21. 21. Meet varying mobile requirements (tablets, performance support)</li></ul>Improves content quality<br /><ul><li>Write once, use many times
  22. 22. Revise once, update everywhere
  23. 23. Reduce production activities</li></li></ul><li>Poll<br />
  24. 24. Management Checklist<br />Questions focus on whether you have a strategic plan that defines where you are and where you want to be.<br />If you don’t know where you are going…<br />{<br />}<br />{<br />}<br />“you might wind up someplace else.”<br />“any road will take you there.”<br />~ Lewis Carrol<br />~ Yogi Berra<br />
  25. 25. Management Checklist<br />Do you have a senior management champion?<br />Have you identified stakeholders, their needs and expectations?<br />Have you created a compelling business case?<br />Have you formed a project governance board?<br />Have you documented all risks and corresponding mitigation strategies?<br />Have you allowed adequate time for implementation and adoption?<br />
  26. 26. Personnel Checklist<br />Questions focus on whether you have set up appropriate motivations and support structures to encourage your staff to adapt.<br />{<br />}<br />“Even those who fancy themselves the most progressive will fight against other kinds of progress, for each of us is convinced that our way is the best way.”<br />~ Louis L’Amour<br />
  27. 27. Personnel Checklist<br />Do you have 1-2 content reuse champions to oversee and coordinate?<br />Have you educated personnel about the importance of these strategies both to themselves and to the business?<br />Is there adequate time for training staff on new technology & processes?<br />Is there a team dedicated to the project implementation?<br />Is acceptance and adoption tied to employee performance?<br />Have you established a collaborative working environment?<br />
  28. 28. Collaborative Work Environment<br />Cross-functional mix of expertise<br />Shared Leadership<br />Move from “me and mine” to “us and ours”<br />Rapid and complete sharing of information<br />Active Learning<br />Commitment to the success of all<br />Mutual trust and respect in interactions<br />
  29. 29. Poll<br />
  30. 30. Process Checklist<br />Questions focus on whether you have considered how your operations must and will change.<br />{<br />}<br />“If you need a new process and don’t install it, you pay for it without getting it.”<br />~ Ken Stork, Citibank<br />
  31. 31. Process Checklist<br />Have you identified areas for streamlining and improvement?<br />Have you considered the new/changed processes that will be required to implement these new strategies?<br />Have you researched best practices?<br />Have you captured pre-conversion metrics to help document your improvements?<br />
  32. 32. Example Process Changes<br />Who owns the content?<br />How do you determine if/when a change can be made to an object used in multiple places?<br />At what level will you reuse (paragraph, topic, lesson, figures, lists, tables, etc.)?<br />How is reused content reviewed in context?<br />How will you name folders and files?<br />
  33. 33. Content Checklist<br />Questions focus on ways to ensure that your content pieces are compatible.<br />{<br />}<br />Do not put statements in the negative form. And don't start sentences with a conjunction. If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do. Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all. De-accession euphemisms. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky. Last, but not least, avoid clichés like the plague.<br />~ William Safire, “Great Rules or Writing”<br />
  34. 34. Content Checklist<br />Have you determined common structures, content types, and elements?<br />Have you identified areas for potential reuse within your own department?<br />Have you identified content shared among documentation, training, marketing, customer support, and other groups?<br />Do you have a standard style guide and authoring guidelines in place?<br />Do you perform editorial reviews on the use of templates and conformance to style guides?<br />
  35. 35. Unstructured Writing<br />Difficult, if not impossible to reuse<br />Idiosyncratic<br />Developed top-down<br />Driven by an internal logic<br />
  36. 36. Structured Writing<br />Unified underlying design<br />Interchangeable parts<br />The Lego Model<br /><ul><li>All the pieces fit together from multiple sets
  37. 37. Standard sizes and standard connectors</li></li></ul><li>Poll<br />
  38. 38. Common Structures<br />Information Types <br />Content Units<br />The building blocks of your Information Types<br />Content units, required and optional, guide the authors in writing topics that can be easily reused in a variety of contexts<br />The standard categories of content that you use to provide the structure and content guidelines needed to author individual topics<br />An information type is generally supported by an authoring template<br />Metadata Dimensions<br />The categories that you use to organize and label the content that you will manage in a content management system<br />
  39. 39. Metadata Dimensions<br />Customers need information to<br /><ul><li>Install, design, configure, select
  40. 40. Operate, control, maintain
  41. 41. Troubleshoot, repair, replace</li></ul>Customers differ<br /><ul><li>Languages, geographies, experience, expertise
  42. 42. Products, workflow, job tasks
  43. 43. Money, time</li></li></ul><li>Metadata Dimensions<br />Authoring Dimensions<br />User Dimensions<br />Publishing Dimensions<br />Product<br />Release<br />Subject area<br />Process area<br />Customer(s)<br />Information type<br />Author/Owner<br />Role<br />Department<br />Editor/Reviewer<br />Schedule dates<br />Source<br />Workflow<br />Goals<br />Tasks<br />Concepts<br />Stages of use<br />Learning style<br />Roles<br />WorkflowLanguage<br />Culture<br />
  44. 44. Information Types<br />Users need information about:<br />Why?<br />What?<br />Who?<br />When?How?<br />Where?<br />
  45. 45. Information Types<br />Typical information types<br /><ul><li>Objectives
  46. 46. Concepts
  47. 47. Policies
  48. 48. Processes
  49. 49. Procedures
  50. 50. Tasks
  51. 51. References
  52. 52. Assessments</li></li></ul><li>Content Units<br />Information types consist of content units:<br /><ul><li>Text and media
  53. 53. Strictly or loosely defined
  54. 54. Required or optional
  55. 55. In sequence or freeform</li></li></ul><li>Content Units<br />Tutorial Lesson<br />Procedure<br />Procedure title<br />Purpose statement<br />Pre-requisites<br />Warnings and Cautions<br />Action steps<br />Feedback statements<br />Options<br />Tutorial title<br />Purpose statement<br />Warnings and Cautions<br />Tutorial steps<br />Feedback statements<br />Options<br />Some of the content units may be the same.<br />
  56. 56. Authoring Guidelines and Style Guides<br />Define information types, content types, metadata dimensions<br /><ul><li>How and when each are used
  57. 57. Usable examples</li></ul>Define writing conventions and standards<br />Avoid look and feel discussions<br />
  58. 58. Delivery Checklist<br />Questions focus on your delivery modalities and output types<br />
  59. 59. Delivery Checklist<br />Have you determined all output types you will support?<br />Have you established common structures for each output type?<br />Do you have templates in place for each output type?<br />Do your templates and media plans reflect the capabilities and requirements of the delivery devices you will support?<br />
  60. 60. Documentation Output Types<br />Quick reference<br />User guide<br />Online help<br />Reference guide<br />
  61. 61. Learning Output Types<br />
  62. 62. Poll<br />
  63. 63. Technology Checklist<br />Questions focus on your tool selection process<br />{<br />}<br />“If the axe is not sharp, it doesn’t matter how hard the wood is.”<br />~ Chinese Proverb<br />
  64. 64. Technology Checklist<br />Have you researched and evaluated your current tools?<br />Are technology requirements documented (authoring, production)?<br />Is your audience’s technology requirements documented (delivery, tracking)?<br />Have you created and send an RFI or RFP?<br />Have you created an evaluation tool to assist your selection process?<br />
  65. 65. Implementation Checklist<br />Questions focus on your strategies for rollout and adoption<br />{<br />}<br />“Why go into something to test the waters? Go into it to make waves.”<br />~ Unknown<br />
  66. 66. Implementation Checklist<br />Have you selected a pilot project for proof concept?<br />Have you audited your legacy systems?<br />Have you established translation and localization strategies for multiple language delivery?<br />Have you created a change management plan?<br />
  67. 67. Selecting a Pilot Project<br />A test of your design tools<br /><ul><li>Authoring ease of use
  68. 68. Database structure (components and elements)
  69. 69. Dynamic reassemble (metadata and variables)
  70. 70. Search, links, indexing</li></ul>Give users time to adjust to new ways of doing things<br />
  71. 71. Selecting a Pilot Project<br />Visible and important enough that people care<br />Short time frame for quick turnaround<br />Address entire problem domain, but keep initial activities small:<br /><ul><li>Narrow and deep, exercising all aspects
  72. 72. Broad and shallow, running a single, simple project through the entire process</li></ul>Minimize complexity<br />
  73. 73. Poll<br />
  74. 74. Case Study: Previous Situation<br />Product “family” (seven products) with slight variations in specs, feature set<br /><ul><li>Previously: published one manual containing content for all seven products
  75. 75. Translated to five languages
  76. 76. Approximately 90% of core content also used in manuals for other product families</li></li></ul><li>Case Study: Single-source Solution<br />Set up structure to support reuse – folders, reusable components (topics, maps)<br />Applied metadata to content<br />Conditionally processed a single bookmap which contains all possible conditions using attributes for conditions<br />Produced product specific documents<br />
  77. 77. Case Study: Results<br />Core manual contains approximately 60,000 words<br />From the core bookmap, 7 manuals (en) produced <br />Translations in 13 languages for all 7 manuals – 7 x 13 = 91 books<br />90% of text reused from previous translations<br />
  78. 78. Case Study: Results<br />Costs<br /><ul><li>Before with DTP: 60,000x13x.50 = $390,000
  79. 79. With XML and conditional processing = $30,000
  80. 80. Savings of $360K</li></ul>Time<br /><ul><li>Translations returned in 3 weeks
  81. 81. PDF production (91 books) and review completed in 4 weeks</li></ul>Customer output for each product = 6 new deliverables in each language<br />
  82. 82. To learn more…<br /><br />Mention the Xyleme Webinar and receive $100 off registration.<br />
  83. 83. To learn more…<br />Comtech workshops<br /><ul><li>Minimalism, Content Management Strategies, User and Task Analysis, Structured Writing, DITA for writers
  84. 84. DIAT bootcamp</li></ul>Center for Information – Development Management<br /><ul><li>Content Management Strategies 2011, April 4-6, Baltimore, MD
  85. 85. Best Practices 2011, September 12-14, San Antonio, TX</li></li></ul><li>Learn more about Xyleme<br />Follow us on Twitter @xylemelearning<br />Listen to industry luminaries on our award-winning podcast library at<br />Upcoming events<br /><ul><li>Xyleme LCMS monthly product webcast: April 7, 10am MDT
  86. 86. mLearnCon: iPad and Tablet Computing: A Game Changer for Delivering Blended Learning: June 21-23</li></ul>Contact us<br /><ul><li>
  87. 87.</li>
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