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LavaCon 2017 - Content Development Estimates and Proposals: The Groundwork for Success

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Estimating content development projects requires math skills and project management experience. In this break-out session, we’ll explore how to create effective estimates and proposals. We’ll examine several samples, and discuss how to reduce uncertainty and increase confidence. Feel free to bring your own samples for discussion and feedback.

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LavaCon 2017 - Content Development Estimates and Proposals: The Groundwork for Success

  1. 1. Content Development Estimates and Proposals: The Groundwork for Success With Barry Saiff Monday, Nov. 6, 2:45 PM
  2. 2. @SaiffSolutions #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm About The Speaker: Barry Saiff Technical communications leader 33 years of experience in technical documentation Led content development teams at Symantec, Oracle, IBM, and GE Founded Saiff Solutions, Inc. in 2011 Provides technical writing services to large enterprises in Australia, Japan, Canada, and US Twitter: @SaiffSolutions
  3. 3. @SaiffSolutions #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Why Do You Need an Estimate: • To secure buy-in (make a sale, get approval) • To support budgeting and planning • To determine staffing levels • To manage uncertainty • To establish benchmarks/increase efficiency Estimating Documentation Projects
  4. 4. @SaiffSolutions #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Why Do You Need an Estimate - Examples: You are using an Agile process, with two-week sprints. However, management needs an annual budget. You are clear that your team size is inadequate for your project load. To demonstrate this, you need to clearly define the size of each project. Other examples? Estimating Documentation Projects
  5. 5. @SaiffSolutions #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Accurate estimation requires good data. Ideally, you can test out how long it takes this team to create this content using these resources. Often, that is not practical. What is Challenging about Estimates?
  6. 6. @SaiffSolutions #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm You are speaking truth to power. The customer/management may not be enthusiastic about reality. (Accurate Estimate vs. Acceptable Estimate) What is Challenging about Estimates?
  7. 7. @SaiffSolutions #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Stuff happens. The project may not go the way you expected when you created the estimate. What is Challenging about Estimates?
  8. 8. @SaiffSolutions #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm • LEARN, TEST, ITERATE • Collect and maintain data, refer to historical data. • Large projects: Include planning phase, with initial/test work, revise estimate at the end of planning. • Use ranges. • Include process details in the plan - reviews, etc. How Can You Meet the Challenges?
  9. 9. @SaiffSolutions #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm • Add caveats: How will changes be accounted for? Delayed reviews? • Identify ALL assumptions • Gather diverse input • Consider: How to get off the proposal treadmill? • Pad, pad, pad! Plan for the unexpected. How Can You Meet the Challenges?
  10. 10. @SaiffSolutions #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm • Focus on estimating goal-oriented tasks (writing a topic) vs. minutiae (interviewing 3 SMEs) • Count what can be counted (UI elements) • Develop and use historical data How do you create project estimates?
  11. 11. @SaiffSolutions #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm • Use industry-standard numbers: 4 hours/page for user documentation (JoAnn Hackos) • Consider process maturity • Adjust your estimates, using humility How do you create project estimates?
  12. 12. @SaiffSolutions #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Can We Help You? What are your greatest challenges?  Staff changes  Resources/capacity/constraints  Team/personnel  Bureaucracy/management support  Cross-cultural/geographic issues  Other? If Saiff Solutions could assist you in overcoming your challenges, would you be interested in a free consultation?  Yes, please contact me directly.  Not right now, possibly later.  No, thank you.
  13. 13. Content Development Estimates and Proposals: The Groundwork for Success With Barry Saiff Monday, Nov. 6, 2:45 PM

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