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Making It So: The Hard Work of Developing a Unified Content Strategy with Toni Mantych

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Knowing what needs to be done and achieving it are dramatically different things. While there’s general consensus that carefully and deliberately establishing and articulating a content strategy for a product, an organization, or an enterprise is a good thing, execution remains an elusive holy grail.

We’ll take a look at real challenges—logistic, political, technical—faced as one organization in a Fortune 300 company undertook to develop what Ann Rockley first described as a “unified content strategy,” across functional groups (documentation, training, knowledge management functional organizations) and divergent content. We’ll discuss techniques and strategies such as:

• Emphasizing common goal of client/user satisfaction to unite groups with different historical foci
• Employing data-driven decision making–to ensure good decisions but also to relieve organizational bias
• Using charters and other PM tools to identify, celebrate, and effectively make use of the unique skills, perspectives, and assets of each participating group

This presentation was given at Information Development World on May 16, 2017

Don’t miss our upcoming event, Information Development World: Creating Machine-Ready Content to be held on November 28-30, 2017.

http://www.informationdevelopmentworld.com

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Making It So: The Hard Work of Developing a Unified Content Strategy with Toni Mantych

  1. 1. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. Making It So: The Hard Work of Developing a Unified Content Strategy Information Development World 2017, Menlo Park, 16 May 2017 Toni Mantych (@tonimantych)
  2. 2. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. Or: What They Said, with Examples Information Development World 2017, Menlo Park, 16 May 2017 Toni Mantych (@tonimantych)
  3. 3. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. Preamble: Setting the Scene
  4. 4. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. Our company: ADP • Comprehensive global provider of cloud-based Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions that unite HR, payroll, talent, time, tax, and benefits administration • Leader in business outsourcing services, analytics, and compliance expertise • Over 650,000 clients in more than 110 countries
  5. 5. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. Our enterprise content development landscape Corporate Comm
  6. 6. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. Our group • Information Development Services • About 50 geographically dispersed content developers • Support numerous ADP products & services across business units • Primarily client audiences • Part of Development organization & embedded on Agile teams • Founded Translation Management Services group
  7. 7. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. My role • Lead IDS IA team • Facilitate department content strategy work • Drive DITA + CCMS implementation & adoption • Participate on cross-functional content strategy initiatives
  8. 8. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. (Some of) Our drivers ü Disorganized content ü Users not finding answers ü Increasing globalization ü Inconsistent standards ü Room for improvement with translations ü Many versions of content ü Inefficient maintenance ü Interpretive dancing ü Copy+paste+tweaking ü The future & the rapid pace of change Ø Uncoordinated content innovations/initiatives Ø Inconsistent user experiences
  9. 9. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. Overview: What We’ve Done & Where We Are
  10. 10. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. Increasing strategic maturity In product doc teams Within the department Across departments Across the enterprise • Worked with scrum teams to decide what’s really necessary • Developed new types of content • Sunset some types of content
  11. 11. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. In product doc teams Within the department Across departments Across the enterprise Increasing strategic maturity • Provided minimalism training • Developed common architecture & standardized authoring guidelines* • Conducted routine deliverable audits • Developed and maintained style, tone & voice, and other guidelines
  12. 12. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. Increasing strategic maturity • Led minimalism & information typing training • Created joint style guides • Shared tone & voice, globalization guidelines and best practices • Shared information architecture/content model, metadata taxonomy, source content In product doc teams Within the department Across departments Across the enterprise
  13. 13. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. In product doc teams Within the department Across departments Across the enterprise Getting to a unified content strategy Working to: • Coordinate efforts into a holistic strategy • Get enterprise-level buy-in and adoption • Establish governance
  14. 14. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. Challenges (and Some Suggestions)
  15. 15. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. Silo breaking is hard • Organizational & personal egos & biases can interfere. • It’s hard to see the big picture from the ground. • Strategy setting requires buy-in or authority. http://stowaway.humsites.byu.edu/files/2011/10/cornmaze1.jpgm
  16. 16. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. Tips for silo breaking • Seek a sponsor who is above the content development silos. • Seek a facilitator who is outside the content development silos. • Keep client value and business value front and center. • Listen attentively, practice humility, and trust your colleagues—and yourself. http://bellaorganic.com/pumpkin-patch/
  17. 17. Modern Epiphanies Ø Colleagues in other departments are also creating content that users need. Ø And that’s good. Ø Users don’t care what department created what content. Ø Nor should they. Ø Tech Pubs doesn’t have a monopoly on creating valuable content for users. Ø And that’s OK too. Sarah Leritz-Higgins, Mentor Graphics, a Siemens Company WritersUA West, March 2017
  18. 18. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. Alignment is hard • “Our content is different.” • “Our audience is unique.” • “We’ve always done it that way.” • “We have to do it that way.”
  19. 19. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. Facilitating alignment • Focus on user needs & content purpose, not deliverables, labels. • Validate your assumptions. • Use multiple inputs—beyond content audits—for your analysis. • Look for patterns in content, but accept real, valid differences. • Resist status quo thinking. Be open to compromise and new ideas.
  20. 20. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. It takes too long • “We don’t have time for strategy. We have to be agile or we’ll miss the boat.” • “It will take too long to define all the aspects of a unified content strategy.” • “There are too many moving pieces; it’s impossible to implement.”
  21. 21. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. Make it manageable
  22. 22. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. Make it manageable • Define & prioritize your strategic objectives & the desired measurable key results (OKRs). • Use your prioritized OKRs to schedule specific initiatives. • Use phases or reduced scopes. • When engaging in phased work, keep holistic perspective, to avoid getting re-segmented or working at cross-purposes.
  23. 23. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. Make/keep it relevant • Make your content strategy work transparent, so that it can guide existing and new work. • Consult your strategic objectives when making decisions about new work and setting priorities. • Be willing to adjust your content strategy as situations, priorities, resources change.
  24. 24. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. Top Tips & Takeaways
  25. 25. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. Let go of organizational bias, personal ego, the status quo, & content ownership. 1
  26. 26. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. Focus on user experience and client/business value. 2
  27. 27. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. Strategy enables agility and adds meaning and value to innovation. 3
  28. 28. Copyright © 2017 ADP, LLC. Proprietary and Confidential. Let’s connect • Director, Content Strategy & Architecture, ADP • Instructor, UCSC Extension Technical Communication Certificate Program • Former instructor, Portland State University Graduate Professional & Technical Communication Program @tonimantych Toni.Mantych@adp.com www.linkedin.com/in/tonimantych/

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