Changing the tires on a moving vehicle: Navigating transition challenges

The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) is the leader in preparing and publishing educational resources, as well as assessment and certification services, for the construction industry. Given the demands of the marketplace and the constantly changing technology landscape, NCCER has had to transition from an older publication-oriented system to a modern DITA-enabled content management and publishing process. We will review the business pressures that encouraged NCCER to embark on this initiative, the various changes that had to be accommodated, and the transition issues that needed to be navigated. Among the most serious challenges has been the need to undertake substantial changes, to learn new skills, to migrate legacy content, and to refine the publishing outputs all while sustaining a publishing schedule that has not been relaxed and in fact has been accelerated.

What can the audience expect to learn?

This case study presents the experiences of a close-knit and industrious team determined to address the challenges before them. Whether someone is interested in how a complex, multi-partner publishing process can be moved over to DITA while the wheels are still turning or more generally in how a communication team can adapt to these challenges, this case study holds something of value.

Meet the presenters

Joe is the Managing Director of Gnostyx Research Inc. (, a company he founded to help organizations to leverage content technologies to achieve sustainable business benefits. Over the last 25 years, he has led over 100 content management initiatives in a wide variety of industries including aerospace, defense, software, telecommunications, engineering, construction, education, publishing, government, and healthcare. He has been leading large-scale and leading-edge DITA projects for global enterprises since 2005. Blogging as the Content Philosopher (, he continues to explore how content and content processes can be better leveraged to improve how organizations operate, adapt, and manage themselves.

Daniele Dixon is the Director, Product and Program Development, for the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). She leads a team of content development and production professionals, as well as project managers and external partners, to deliver curriculum and assessment resources for the global construction industry. The rapid growth in construction activities around the world has been driving a growing demand for the content assets, expertise, and authority of NCCER. Daniele and her team have the responsibility for meeting these escalating demands and doing so in part by adopting the latest best practices in DITA-enabled publishing and content management processes.

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