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The Rocky Road to DITA

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Sarah O'Keefe and Toni Mantych present an overview of DITA implementation challenges at LavaCon Dublin, June 2016

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The Rocky Road to DITA

  1. 1. The Rocky Road to Dublin flickr: ro-silva, Cliffs of Moher Toni Mantych, ADP, and Sarah O’Keefe, Scriptorium The Rocky Road to DITA
  2. 2. About the presenters @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA flickr: Buddha Dog. Portola Valley, California, USA
  3. 3. @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA Toni Mantych, @tonimantych ❖ Information Architect, ADP Sarah O’Keefe, @sarahokeefe ❖ Founder and President, Scriptorium
  4. 4. DITA Implementation Therapy Session Toni Mantych, ADP, and Sarah O’Keefe, Scriptorium D RAFT
  5. 5. Questions, please! ❖ Fill out an index card and pass it up. ❖ Use the #rockyDITA hashtag on Twitter. ❖ Use the microphone. @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA flickr: Buddha Dog. Caves Cove, Tennessee, USA
  6. 6. ADP project overview @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA flickr: Eva Luedin
  7. 7. ADP project overview ❖ 60 writers ❖ Mostly RoboHelp ❖ Implementing DITA, CCMS, topic-based writing ❖ Business case: Localization, reuse, and quality ❖ The business case was easy. @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA
  8. 8. We expected smooth sailing. @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA flickr: zoomzoom
  9. 9. Maybe a few small surprises… @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA flickr: amardilo
  10. 10. But instead… @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA flickr: joiseyshowaa, Bangladesh
  11. 11. What made the road rocky?
 (“Agenda”) ❖ Complex conditions ❖ Resource constraints ❖ The matrix: Influence without authority ❖ Building skills @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA
  12. 12. Complex conditions @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA flickr: shannonpatrick17,Houston, Texas
  13. 13. Complex conditions ❖ So. Many. Meetings. @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA
  14. 14. Graphics helped. Somewhat. @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA
  15. 15. Balance and focus ❖ Value of reuse ❖ Complexity of conditionals @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA
  16. 16. Don’t focus only on maximizing reuse. Complexity is expensive. @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA dangerousroads.org, Swindon, UK
  17. 17. We had resource constraints. @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA flickr: infomatique, Ormond Quay area, Dublin
  18. 18. We had resource constraints. ❖ Not enough people. ❖ Not enough funding. @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA flickr: infomatique, Ormond Quay area, Dublin
  19. 19. Addressing resource constraints ❖ Hire consultants for expertise and quick wins to build momentum ❖ But focus on building knowledge internally @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA flickr: infomatique, Ormond Quay area, Dublin
  20. 20. What to do about lack of experience? @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA flickr: deepakkt, Chinnakallar Falls, Valparai, India
  21. 21. What to do about lack of experience? ❖ Use consultants wisely ❖ Start learning early ❖ Build your team with care ❖ Plan your project to accommodate learning @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA
  22. 22. The consultant paradox ❖ Expertise = quick wins and momentum ❖ Overreliance = Can’t manage project internally @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA flickr: barelyfitz
  23. 23. Bust through the paradox. @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA flickr: urbanwoodchuck, Tennessee?
  24. 24. Use consultants properly ❖ Hire consultants for expert knowledge at project start ❖ Get quick wins to build momentum ❖ Insist on knowledge transfer ❖ Grow team expertise over time @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA flickr: urbanwoodchuck, Tennessee?
  25. 25. Without knowledge transfer, you aren’t a client, you’re a hostage. @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA flickr: Yellowstone National Park
  26. 26. Project expertise @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA Project start Pilot Implementation Maintenance Consultants Staff
  27. 27. @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA External Internal Consultants Staff
  28. 28. Start learning early ❖ Informal DITA knowledge acquisition (LearningDITA.com and others) ❖ Read ❖ Attend conferences and learn from others’ mistakes (like right now!!) @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA
  29. 29. Build your team with care @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA flickr: North Dakota Department of Transportation
  30. 30. Build your team with care ❖ Early adopters ❖ Thrive on learning independently ❖ Build esprit de corps @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA
  31. 31. How to build the team @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA flickr: junaelo242a, Chile
  32. 32. How to build the team ❖ Diverse skills and attitudes ❖ Continuous learning ❖ Very different from core job ❖ Requires trial and error ❖ Risk perception varies @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA
  33. 33. Accommodate learning @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA flickr: Jerald Jackson, Spring, Texas, USA
  34. 34. Accommodate learning ❖ Give early adopters small, low-risk projects ❖ Make mistakes early ❖ Understand that some people like uncertainty and others fear uncertainty @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA
  35. 35. Into the matrix @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA flickr: robertpaulyoung. Giant’s Causeway
  36. 36. Into the matrix (organization) ❖ Inexperienced matrix team ❖ No in-house experience is the standard ❖ New hires won’t solve the problem because they have no social capital ❖ Best case is someone who by coincidence had previous experience @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA
  37. 37. Matrix management ❖ Clearly define roles, responsibilities, expectations ❖ Accountability ❖ Establish a communication strategy ❖ Pre-arrange a method for dealing with conflicts @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA
  38. 38. Learning @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA flickr: dennyarmstrong. Mogolion, New Mexico, USA
  39. 39. Map from “old way” to “new way” @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA
  40. 40. Learning ❖ Train early and often ❖ Uncover issues with the implementation ❖ Discover unmet needs ❖ Use collaboration systems ❖ Tip page with list of shortcuts ❖ Best practices from experience @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA
  41. 41. How to stay on track @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA flickr:explore_photography
  42. 42. Real-life project management @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA Graphic:GretylKinsey
  43. 43. Prerequisites versus learning during the project @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA flickr: ro-silva. Giant’s Causeway
  44. 44. Prerequisites versus learning during the project ❖ Flexibility ❖ Willingness to learn ❖ Perseverance ❖ Motivation ❖ We can teach the rest, but only if the person wants to learn @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA
  45. 45. Questions? @tonimantych @sarahokeefe #rockyDITA flickr: alexranaldi, Cliffs of Moher

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