Combining Teams, Tools, and Workflows after a Corporate Merger

After two major corporate mergers in a few months’ time, we had 3 technical writing teams — about 40 writers in all — using different tools and workflows to create their content. This is the story of how we consolidated everyone into a single set of tools and workflows — while retaining the best practices from all three teams and allowing writers to produce content with as little disruption as possible.

When we began, one of the writing was using a specialized DITA with SDL; one team was using out-of-the-box DITA with SDL; one team was using out-of-the-box DITA with easyDITA. The three teams were using different authoring tools: Arbortext, XMetaL, and oXygen.

Today, all three teams are writing in DITA using oXygen and a single, newly created instance of SDL.

Larry Kunz will describe how he and his management team worked to align corporate cultures, preserving the best aspects of each company while being sensitive to the concerns and fears of every employee. In managing the consolidation project, they emphasized empathetic listening, timely training, and clear communication.

What can the audience expect to learn?

Technical communication managers, team leads, and information architects will leave this session with practical, proven ideas for smoothing transitions and building new, unified teams. I’ll describe how we formed a work-group (which I chaired) that incorporated the viewpoints of each team, agreed on the workflow and best practices we wanted to carry forward, tested the new implementation, and monitored the progress of the consolidation project.

Meet the presenter

Larry Kunz is a Lead Technical Writer with Extreme Networks, a leading producer of networking hardware. Larry is a seasoned project manager and facilitator, having planned and executed numerous content-development projects. As a consultant, he has helped organizations select, set up, and manage workflows for projects that used structured authoring. Larry teaches the Project Management section of Duke University’s Technical Writing certificate program. He holds the rank of STC Fellow and received the STC President’s Award for leading the Society’s strategic planning effort.

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