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Content management overview - What is it. when do we need to think about it, and how do we do it?
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Content management overview - What is it. when do we need to think about it, and how do we do it?



© Sharon Burton - the April 11 2012 presentation to SDSTC.

© Sharon Burton - the April 11 2012 presentation to SDSTC.



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    Content management overview - What is it. when do we need to think about it, and how do we do it? Content management overview - What is it. when do we need to think about it, and how do we do it? Presentation Transcript

    • Content Management What, when, and why?Sharon BurtonSharon@sharonburton.comTwitter: sharonburton
    • 8 Steps to Amazing Webinars  eBook and printed book available now at BN.com and Amazon.com  My first book!
    • What is Content Management?And why do we care?
    • Question Do you think your job is a technical writer? Long gone are the days where we just wrote content all day until we were ready to ship
    • Content management is… Content is a business asset  Words  Videos  Graphics All this cost time (money) to create and publish In your company, content:  Describes how the company works  Explains the products  Trains staff  More
    • Content management is… The process of understanding that content is a business asset and  Managing it like any other asset in the business Other assets:  Computers  Furniture  Money  Staff  Products  Source code
    • Content management is… Critical to the business We need to think about our content development efforts in this context Big questions:  What are we doing that adds value to the company?  How do we preserve our content efforts?  How do we secure our content?  How do we decrease the cost of content development and maximize our efforts?
    • Why do we want ContentManagement?What are the benefits?
    • It all sounds good, but How do you manage all these pieces of content? What if we…  want to move files?  find out where content is being used?  want to know if this has been written before?  manage versions?  many other issues That’s the Management part
    • The Management part Find and reuse content Security Standardization Collaboration Workflow
    • Find and reuse content You can’t reuse what you can’t find Opportunistic reuse  People remember this content from before  Maybe they can find it  Big time sink Systematic reuse  The system knows this content has been written previously  Prompts the writer for reuse  Tracks reuse and reports it
    • Security People should only be able to change what they know about Restrict access to content Who changed what?  When?  Why? Obsolete content  Needs to be managed as well
    • Standardization Standard content can be reused most effectively Templates enforce standardization of content Both in  Terminology  Structure of information In other words, the corporate voice is enforced Content can be reused seamlessly
    • Collaboration Allows people to develop the content in pieces  Assemble later Faster content development  Meeting deadlines  Leverage your staff more effectively
    • Workflow Improve your workflow Content is not sent for review 30 times Content is sent to localization when it’s done Manage who changed what Where is the content used? What content is obsolete? So much more
    • When do we need to thinkabout Content Management?After all, we’ve been doing it this way for decades…
    • At the start of a project From the first planning, you need to think  What can I do to reduce the cost of this project?  Cost = time  What can I reuse that already exists?  How can I develop content to make my content most reusable?  How can I make my content available to others ro use?  Who else might be developing content that I can use?
    • Yeah, but… Our products are totally silo-ed I don’t like the way Joe writes Who has time for this? I have deadlines! We’ll never translate our content  We’re opening a new market? Spanish, you say? This is a stupid new “thing” that will be gone in a year  Just like the 10 other “new things” in the last 10 years We have buckets of existing content and I have no idea how to start
    • Now. The answer is now.Start now. It’s time.
    • How do we start with ContentManagement?Is this going to hurt?
    • Look at your tools You really can’t do this with Word  You can but you really won’t like it  But it’s not enough FrameMaker is better  Structured Frame is even better  But it’s not enough You can do this with Flare  But it’s not enough A Content Management system is really good  Author-It natively has CM 3rd party Content Management tools may be appropriate for you
    • Content Inventory What content do we have?  Down to all headings Where is that content?  Where are the source files for as far back as you need to go? How is that content structured?  Is it task oriented? Narrative? Mixture?  Where are the graphics and videos? Who is it for?  Who is the audience for each piece of content?  What is the point of each piece of info?
    • Develop your information types DITA has several information types  Concept  Task  Reference These may meet your needs It’s a place to start  Even if you’ll not be moving to DITA  Perhaps especially if you’re not
    • It would be pretty to think Your legacy content is going to fit neatly in these categories It won’t take any time to figure this out We can do this as we need to It’s easy
    • The reality is Your legacy content is not going to fit neatly  It’s at least not well written/structured/organized  You don’t know where much of it is You can’t jump on your horse and ride off in all directions  You need to analyze what you have before you can decide what you have One manual will not give you the real picture  Especially if you have used a lot of contractors, legacy content has been around a long time, and so on This can be very hard  People want their content to be the exception  It’s special content, not like other content and needs special attention
    • So what to do? Consider making several passes  For this version, we’ll do an inventory  Next version, we’ll move to a CCM and rewrite to follow Structured Authoring  Version after that, we identify the information types  And so on  This reduces project impact If you have a very experienced writer  Let her/him start the content analysis/inventory  They know the content well  Pilot project  They can set the guidelines and train the others
    • New Content Much better position  You can do it right from the beginning You may encounter resistance from other writers  It’s not possible  It’s stupid  I don’t like the writing guidelines  I’m going to agree and then do what I want  And so much more
    • Standards for content You need  Writing standards  Style guide  Corporate style guide  Structure guide  Graphics guide And you need to implement these  Style guide – MS has one that’s fine  Corporate style guide – How do you talk about your stuff?  Structure authoring guide – How are topics structured?  Graphics guide – How and when do we use graphics?
    • Implementing People are not going to like having these thrust on them You may or may not care  Tech writers seem to like fighting about these for years  May want committees or may just impose  Training is critical  Brown bags are great Making everyone follow these guidelines makes the content more consistent And now you can leverage the content reusability/cost savings that Content Management provides
    • Further reading DITA 101, 2nd edition.  Ann Rockley Information Development: Managing Your Documentation Projects, Portfolio, and People  Joann T. Hackos Single Sourcing: Building Modular Documentation  Kurt Ament Managing Enterprise Content, 2nd edition.  Ann Rockley
    • Questions? This was a brief overview of a large topicSharon BurtonSharon@sharonburton.comTwitter: sharonburton