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Using content strategy too
change cerporate communications
disrupting documentation
> What we (un)learned
> Breaking the process
> WTF just happened to docs?
Agenda
What we will talk about...
> How a team of content authors with a passion
for content strategy created in internal
startup...
What we won't talk about...
> Basic theory about DITA, topic-based
authoring, content re-use or single
sourcing
> How clos...
who am i?
no, really...
“World's leading open source
services and solutions company”
David Ryan
Tech Tidal is the community voice
for the Queensland startup
community.
Metaset is a mobile video app and
content platform...
9
WTF just happened to docs?
Docs got deador more accurately, the days of capturing the
details of product features have been replaced
by an era of cus...
We built
Pressgang CCMSa web-based Component Content
Management System (CCMS) written
in Java.
We also
Broke everythingas in “totally f**ked s*** up” according to some
people, but “changed the entire way that we
produ...
> end-to-end documentation tool
> open source
> WYSIWYG XML authoring
> seamless publishing integration
> content database...
hint: it's the middle bit
but: it's just the start
20
Breaking the process
“I have an
IDEA”
> start with curiosity
> collect inspiration from
external examples
> explore something
awesome
checkthisout
> find partners in crime that
share your vision
> don’t wait for permission
> show your “thing” to both
the f...
this iscool
> good gets noticed
> awesome loves company
> collaboration is momentum
“just howhardcan it be?”
> move before fear and reality
set in
> focus on product and testing,
and not on ego or worry
> b...
assemble> people you love the team
*
*copyright World Events Productions
*not a real photo of our team
> and some jerks to...
iterate
“pingall, I'm going to bounce
the server in five. Please save
what you're working on”
“mcasperson – can we get
ver...
feedback
“I don't know why but I hate it”
NOOOOO!!!
Love the per-topic bug links
WOOOOOT!!
:(
:)
A lot like DITA
Better qu...
change in
flight
> Measure
> Learn
> Build
RELEASEIf you build it, test it. And keep building and testing until you
are ready to...
30
What we (un)learned.
over
> build, measure, learn
> get started by getting started
> JFDI
plandon't =
> iteration is awesome
let them try
everything
> having an idea means testing an idea
> buy-in from all members
> eggs in different baskets
> red...
be painfully
visible
know when to
> business rules apply (within)
> hire or reallocate dedicated champions
> prepare to remember the “good old ...
measure?
how can we really
?
?
?
> death to vanity metrics
> it’s okay to invent a hypothesis
later (just keep testing)
> ...
always be studying
customers
iterate the prototype
> unify voice
together
> unite the team
> solve the simple
> discover the complex
[and then the most...
<!--
--!>
> What we (un)learned
> Breaking the process
> WTF just happened to docs?
Agenda
Questions?
Social?
Next?
Disrupting Documentation: Using Content Strategy to Change Corporate Communications
Disrupting Documentation: Using Content Strategy to Change Corporate Communications
Disrupting Documentation: Using Content Strategy to Change Corporate Communications
Disrupting Documentation: Using Content Strategy to Change Corporate Communications
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Disrupting Documentation: Using Content Strategy to Change Corporate Communications

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Somewhere under the surface of corporate technical documentation is a tectonic shift in the culture of content authoring. Close to the molten core of content chaos is the open source software sector, where dispersed and disparate communities author endless streams of community documentation. These streams are fed into the engines of enterprise technical writing to form the impressive tomes of knowledge that apparently nobody reads anymore. Until they have to.

In this journey, content author and startup advocate David Ryan traces his adventures as a writer working for the world's first billion dollar open source software company. A company where "we've always done it this way" is no reason at all, and constant innovation has led to the first fully end-to-end open source and topic-based authoring platform, the PressGang CCMS.

But of course, any new tool merely means the chance to discover new problems, new processes, and new opponents. If you're advocating for change in your own corporate structure, contemplating a shift to topic-based content development, or if you simply enjoy stories of danger and delight, you need to hear this. Come along to learn how a tiny side-project in Brisbane became the default global authoring platform for a company publishing over 800 titles in over 22 languages. Discover the secrets for surviving the leap across the skunkwork chasm. And hear how a gang of technical writers got away with it all.

Published in: Technology
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Disrupting Documentation: Using Content Strategy to Change Corporate Communications

  1. 1. Using content strategy too change cerporate communications disrupting documentation
  2. 2. > What we (un)learned > Breaking the process > WTF just happened to docs? Agenda
  3. 3. What we will talk about... > How a team of content authors with a passion for content strategy created in internal startup project > How that project changed the entire way the world’s largest open source software company produces documentation* *(sort of) > Why this represents a shift from corporate process and red tape to customer engagement
  4. 4. What we won't talk about... > Basic theory about DITA, topic-based authoring, content re-use or single sourcing > How close internal disruption can come to getting you in how water > Why there are giant Scrabble pieces on the wall (and how often they fall on heads)
  5. 5. who am i?
  6. 6. no, really...
  7. 7. “World's leading open source services and solutions company” David Ryan
  8. 8. Tech Tidal is the community voice for the Queensland startup community. Metaset is a mobile video app and content platform to help journalists solve the problem of engaging and curating crowdsourced video.
  9. 9. 9 WTF just happened to docs?
  10. 10. Docs got deador more accurately, the days of capturing the details of product features have been replaced by an era of customer focus.
  11. 11. We built Pressgang CCMSa web-based Component Content Management System (CCMS) written in Java.
  12. 12. We also Broke everythingas in “totally f**ked s*** up” according to some people, but “changed the entire way that we produce documentation” according to others.
  13. 13. > end-to-end documentation tool > open source > WYSIWYG XML authoring > seamless publishing integration > content database > integrated content mapping > integrated localization > single sourcing > in-browser
  14. 14. hint: it's the middle bit
  15. 15. but: it's just the start
  16. 16. 20 Breaking the process
  17. 17. “I have an IDEA” > start with curiosity > collect inspiration from external examples > explore something awesome
  18. 18. checkthisout > find partners in crime that share your vision > don’t wait for permission > show your “thing” to both the fans and the jerks
  19. 19. this iscool > good gets noticed > awesome loves company > collaboration is momentum
  20. 20. “just howhardcan it be?” > move before fear and reality set in > focus on product and testing, and not on ego or worry > but yeah, it’s really (really) hard
  21. 21. assemble> people you love the team * *copyright World Events Productions *not a real photo of our team > and some jerks to challenge you
  22. 22. iterate “pingall, I'm going to bounce the server in five. Please save what you're working on” “mcasperson – can we get version numbers on the bug links?” iterate“can we have another Save Topic option for multiple new topic entries?” iterate iterate “I just had another idea...” alpha docs ------------------ ------------------ beta docs ------------------ QE review peer review ------------------
  23. 23. feedback “I don't know why but I hate it” NOOOOO!!! Love the per-topic bug links WOOOOOT!! :( :) A lot like DITA Better quality I trust you.
  24. 24. change in flight > Measure > Learn > Build
  25. 25. RELEASEIf you build it, test it. And keep building and testing until you are ready to...
  26. 26. 30 What we (un)learned.
  27. 27. over > build, measure, learn > get started by getting started > JFDI plandon't = > iteration is awesome
  28. 28. let them try everything > having an idea means testing an idea > buy-in from all members > eggs in different baskets > redundant processes = quick change
  29. 29. be painfully visible
  30. 30. know when to > business rules apply (within) > hire or reallocate dedicated champions > prepare to remember the “good old days” > “prototypes” become “products” growup > project team goes back to reality
  31. 31. measure? how can we really ? ? ? > death to vanity metrics > it’s okay to invent a hypothesis later (just keep testing) > but have a lesson learned
  32. 32. always be studying customers
  33. 33. iterate the prototype > unify voice together > unite the team > solve the simple > discover the complex [and then the most important thing...]
  34. 34. <!-- --!>
  35. 35. > What we (un)learned > Breaking the process > WTF just happened to docs? Agenda
  36. 36. Questions? Social? Next?

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