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LavaCon 2012: KPIs and Metrics for Managing Content Development


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LavaCon 2012: KPIs and Metrics for Managing Content Development

  1. 1. Fri Oct 19, 2012 Bernard Aschwanden @publishsmarter 1 We have limited time today Not all slides or topics carry equal weight Use what you can, discard the rest Slides are a reference, so we may go quickly If you have questions, ask! If you are taking notes, note the slide number I’d love to claim that errors/typos are intentional… they isn’t, ain’t, and weren’t never, but I’ll fix them as I can… 2 13:49 President of Publishing Smarter Worked in documentation and training fields since 1992 Consultant and trainer in CMS, XML, DITA, and publishing technologies STC Associate Fellow STC Board of Directors 3 13:50 1
  2. 2. Fri Oct 19, 2012 Works with clients to improve content creation, management, and distribution workflows Provides content analysis, legacy file conversion, training, and support Main goals are to reduce production costs, improve document quality, and increase employee productivity 4 13:50 In the interest of brevity I will be making some blanket statements to keep things simple Not all that I tell you will be 100% “the truth”, but I’ll stay as close as I can I will likely get in trouble from purists ◦ In some cases this is just wrong of them ◦ Of course, they will also make valid points 5 13:50 Metrics defined Review existing state Issues with traditional approaches New writing models & metric collection Complete documentation costs Moving forward 6 13:51 2
  3. 3. Fri Oct 19, 2012 What are they, what do we measure, and why? 7 Calculated measurement (planned, devised) Metric must have value as it pertains to project Used for decision making 8 13:51 Dependencies Critical components Strengths Processes 9 13:53 3
  4. 4. Fri Oct 19, 2012 Time Costs Resources Productivity Quality Efficiency Customer satisfaction Others you may value 10 13:55 Create more accurate project estimates Talk clearly/numerically about why it took longer than expected–speak with authority Justify expenditures (e.g. students, contractors), tools (licenses, upgrades), or services (trainers) Have numerically sound reasons for updates to procedures & processes, changes in software tools, attendance at training or seminars, etc. 11 13:57 Justify saying “no” to increased project scope Measure time, money, resources, etc; use this for making strategic decisions Present information in a way that is easily consumed by management Determine your documentation improvement strategy with customer satisfaction metrics Estimate the benefits of moving docs to a CMS 12 14:01 4
  5. 5. Fri Oct 19, 2012 13 Don’t jump in & gather data blindly Get a baseline first ◦ Identify resources, assets, and known costs ◦ Review timeframes & processes for current state ◦ Get customer satisfaction stats ◦ List existing issues, roadblocks, and impediments Use this later to judge level of improvement and success of any implemented changes 14 14:02 Assets include content, processes, people, tools Consider if now is the time to start the following: ◦ Applying new models for writing (e.g. topic-based, structured, DITA, etc) ◦ Assigning creation of specific content to specific writers most suited to that content type ◦ Setting up an automated publishing system ◦ Moving to agile documentation development 15 14:04 5
  6. 6. Fri Oct 19, 2012 Reasons this may not work 16 Watch for incomplete or incorrect historical data which can skew numbers ◦ Inconsistent collection methods ◦ Missing time frames of info (gaps) ◦ Generalized data (not broken down or detailed) ◦ Missing data (costs only, or time only) ◦ Data that does not take re-use or automated publishing into consideration ◦ Changes in staffing 17 14:07 Does not account for important differences between pages: ◦ Sizes ◦ Spacing ◦ Layout ◦ Fonts and font sizes ◦ Illustration size & quantity (incl. screen shots) ◦ Quickly outdates when page count changes from original baseline Pages aren’t a good model ◦ Like asking how much per pound for a server or how much per line of code for a software tool 18 14:09 6
  7. 7. Fri Oct 19, 2012 Groups together topics without accounting for important differences: ◦ Topics of differing complexity ◦ Topics of different types (concept, reference, task) ◦ Topics written by authors with varying skills More than just the written topic ◦ Illustrations ◦ Screen shots ◦ Automated content ◦ Reuse of content 19 14:10 Writing has changed and continues to evolve and develop 20 Create discreet and standalone content, then combine to publish Identify the types of content you write Write in a fashion that supports reuse ◦ Variables, insets ◦ Conditional content ◦ Write generic, publish specifics In topics, specific information types can be quantified ◦ Volume of material ◦ Complexity to create ◦ Time required to develop 21 14:14 7
  8. 8. Fri Oct 19, 2012 Assign to resources based on strengths ◦ Trainers create tutorials/how-to ◦ Developers provide source content for references ◦ Marketing, business analysts, to provide conceptual info Allow writers to ◦ Manage content ◦ Ensure consistency ◦ Act as the ‘voice of the user’ 22 14:16 Remove overhead on processes: automate, outsource, or give to junior staff ◦ Image gathering (basic screen shots, drop or rework how they are captured) ◦ Editing (forget peer edits, outsource or hire staff) ◦ Indexing, linking, convert to PDF/HTML/Help, all can be outsourced or automated ID the current time/cost to do all of this 23 14:18 24 8
  9. 9. Fri Oct 19, 2012 Collect data from all parts of the content lifecycle ◦ Research and planning ◦ Development and reviews ◦ Publishing and beyond Collect data from 1, 2 or 3 versions/years back if possible 25 14:18 For all documentation, determine costs for: ◦ Salaries and benefits ◦ Support staff/services ◦ Software and training ◦ Content storage ◦ Additional potential costs centres ◦ Total costs for all content development 26 14:21 Consider: ◦ Delay or factor in software purchase as large/initial expense? (or billed to other dept’s) ◦ Offset training costs by savings in productivity and seen as investments ◦ Will costs for content storage change as files are reduced in size, or increase with the use of version control tools? 27 14:22 9
  10. 10. Fri Oct 19, 2012 Determine what you will apply a cost against ◦ Per unit word count ◦ Per unit complexity level ◦ Per unit writer requirement ◦ Per unit non-writer requirement ◦ Per unit other factors ◦ Per unit cost identification 28 14:23 Determine how you will apply a cost against each information ◦ By day ◦ By topic ◦ By chapter ◦ By page ◦ By word count ◦ Other 29 14:25 30 10
  11. 11. Fri Oct 19, 2012 Cost metrics are the most sought-after data for documentation projects Consider collecting other data, such as metrics on: ◦ Productivity ◦ Quality ◦ Efficiency ◦ Customer satisfaction ◦ Others as applicable 31 14:25 Mgmt wants current data and collection method Use other tools to help, even command lines Extract results and use with core functions of Excel ◦ Sum, average, max, min ◦ Use concatenate ◦ Learn to chart Talk to developers to get help 32 14:27 With solid metrics, you can adapt the numbers for other scenarios Provide realistic reduction areas 33 14:26 11
  12. 12. Fri Oct 19, 2012 The king-hell Excel spreadsheet, command line efforts, files/samples 34 35 14:31 Use other tools to help, even command lines ◦ dir *.* /b > _filelist.txt Build a list of just files in a given folder ◦ dir *.* /b /s > _filelist.txt Build a list of files in current and child folders Take the content to Excel and use spreadsheets 36 14:36 12
  13. 13. Fri Oct 19, 2012 Your turn Open forum, feel free to wander Ask about anything within or beyond scope 37 If you need more help… 38 Contact Bernard ◦ ◦ Call 905 833 8448 ◦ Twitter: publishsmarter or aschwanden4stc ◦ LinkedIn: 39 17:43 13