Proposal for dita implementation


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This document is a proposal as presented to the management of a software product company. It explains how DITA meets strategic publishing goals of a company, why DITA is required, how DITA is implemented, DITA feasibility study, DITA ROI and Cost Benefit Analysis.

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Proposal for dita implementation

  1. 1. Proposal for DITA ImplementationStrategic Goals Produce MINIMALISTIC usable documentation—lean Information Architecture Meet the competition with latest (or FUTURISTIC) trends/techniques/technologies Confidently pitch/showcase ERROR FREE documentation support in sales fulfill audience’s (end-user’s) documentation requirements, in terms of deliveries Produce error free documentation QUICKLY MANAGABLE documentation for bigger and complex products Maximize ROI 1
  2. 2. Proposal for DITA ImplementationNeed of the hour---XML Documentation 1) We need to have manageable documentation for bigger and complex products. XML/DITA facilitates this. 2) We need to deliver documentation faster and as and when demanded. The delivered documentation should be error free. XML/DITA facilitates this. 3) We need to create and maintain documentation with minimalistic, lean and reusable content architecture, so that the real important content is focused, and maintenance becomes easy. XML/DITA facilitates this. 4) We need to deliver only the needed documentation to the appropriate audience, to enable them to focus on only the needed content. XML/DITA facilitates this. 5) We need to deliver content with user friendly design. XML/DITA facilitates this. 6) We need to make content easy for translation. XML/DITA facilitates this. 7) We need perform last minute writing/editing in one area of documentation and be able to quickly deliver the whole documentation without affecting balance of other areas or without introducing error in other areas. XML/DITA facilitates this. 8) We need to fine-tune the document delivery process with the incursion of latest principles and technology to achieve more output with less resource-hour effort. XML/DITA facilitates this. 9) We need to put same chunk of content across multiple documents, across multiple product- lines, across multiple platforms. It calls for centralized maintenance and automated delivery or publishing mechanism. XML/DITA facilitates this. 10) We need to make content flexible enough to be put in any of the delivery formats such as PDF, online, screen, etc. This will make the documentation future ready. XML/DITA facilitates this. 11) We need to separate content presentation from writing. Once the presentation format is standardized, the writer can concentrate on content only, thus removing unnecessary repetitive formatting efforts. XML/DITA facilitates this. 12) We need to get rid of intermediary content migration requirements, such as migrating word documentation to unstructured Framemaker documentation, which will be time consuming but is not futuristic, thus requiring another successive migration . XML/DITA can resolve this. 2
  3. 3. Proposal for DITA ImplementationHow to implement XML/DITA DocumentationDarwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) is a standard of writing content in XML that promotesusability and makes documentation possible with maximum benefits.Delivery Architecture: Content Storing/retrieving/sharing Tools: Sharepoint XML File access is limited to TWs only PDF/output file access is open Content Writing/modifying to all Content Publishing Tools: Adobe Technical Word drafts can be shared but Communication Suite (or cannot be authorized Tools to review drafts: Adobe XMLmind or XMetaL), MS Technical Communication Word, SnagIt Suite (or XMLmind or XMetaL) Writing is done in XML Delivery formats: PDF, online authoring tools help Guidelines: DITA Style Guide, Strictly based on DITA Content Reviewing standard and DITA compliant templates Tools to review drafts: MS Word Tools to review intermediary output or PDF output: Adobe Reader MS Excel can be used to log in review comments. 3
  4. 4. Proposal for DITA ImplementationFeasibility Study Affecting Areas Comment Recommendation New tools (Adobe Adobe Technical Communication Suite license yes Technical can be obtained for TWs. XMLmind and XMetaL Communication Suite are alternative to Adobe Technical or XMLmind or Communication Suite. MS word, SnagIt, Adobe XMetaL) are required Reader will also be used. New standards or TWs can follow the DITA documentation yes techniques (DITA) are standards for documentation content required modeling, writing, reviewing and publishing. Training needed Training on DITA is needed for TWs. Training Yes can be self research. In-class or online training can also be taken from a reputed training provider. Process needs to be The existing Documentation Delivery Process yes altered needs to be modified a little to suit DITA implementation. The TWs will be solely responsible for writing and updating the source XML files for features or QCs. The subject matter experts can send content drafts in predefined template format word files which will be dissolved after copying the same to source XML files. The SharePoint will store XML files instead of Word files. The PDFs will be delivered for review instead of word files. In the PDF files the reviewer can add sticky notes instead of making track changes in word files. Only TWs will be able to publish PDFs or other output. Resource needed More time required to write or update content yes in the initial stage. But less time required for performing smaller editing or information changes. DITA can be implemented without resource ramp up. Delivery date (meeting DITA can be implemented phase-wise in Yes customer consecutive smaller scales spanning across commitments) multiple releases, thus meeting all customer commitments. Quality of Quality of documentation will not be hampered yes documentation with DITA implementation. Rather it will be enhanced gradually. Ease of Sign-offs are required from the senior yes 4
  5. 5. Proposal for DITA Implementation implementation and management to alter documentation process required sign-offs and to acquire licenses for new tools. TWs need to be trained on DITA. Rest of the project team can adapt DITA with minimal impact. 5
  6. 6. Proposal for DITA ImplementationCost Benefit Analysis or ROI Cost/ investment/effort expected in Returns from XML/DITA XML/DITA structured documentation Tools Required (licensing) Less time to market Documentation process change Can better meet customer required commitments Training required Easy error free maintenance New standards and techniques Less effective resource hour effort required Sign-off required Less scope for error Highly trained resource required Error free last minute editing Minimal, focused and reusable content Presentable quality documentation User friendly content design Market standard future ready documentation Less time and cost for translation Manageable documentation for bigger and complex products No further migration 6
  7. 7. Proposal for DITA ImplementationIs there any disadvantages? Writing content is time consuming for the first instance. Modeling, writing, and maintaining documentation content requires highly trained resource. Writing content requires very complex tools. With less or approximately no knowledge on this tool, subject matter experts will stay away from the tool and will provide information through other means. Reviewing XML documents with track changes is very difficult. For this we need to have other third party tool. Or we can have the review on PDFs by using Commenting feature. It needs modification in the existing documentation process. It needs sign-off from senior management. Project scope needs to be scaled to adapt XML/DITA implementation. 7