Doing Less With More

If your organization is anything like mine, we’re being asked to do more and more with fewer and fewer people. Reusing content can help take the strain off of writers and reviewers, and helps maintain quality documentation in these strained times. It helps ensure that if changes are needed, changes are applied everywhere. Additionally, with some extra tagging, you can create content that can be reused but still contains different text for different builds (for different products or different delivery methods, such as PDFs and online help).

In this presentation, I will draw on my own experiences of writing the documentation for two virtually identical products, as well as my current position where I write the documentation for two products that are related but very different. One of those products is a container for three other products, so I need to pull information from three different sources as well as writing unique content.

The reviewers understand that when the source is changed for one product, the changes are updated in the other products; thus saving time and lessening confusion, while minimizing the writers’ work.

A complex writing environment like this requires close coordination across teams, standardized writing and tagging styles, and a lot of communication.

What can the audience expect to learn?

I’m sure that my company isn’t the only one asking us to do more with less. I can help busy writers understand how to plan and write for content reuse.

Meet the presenter

I have been a technical writer at IBM for nearly 20 years. I have experience writing pretty much every type of content – books, online help, knowledge centers, blogs, etc. I’ve had a lot of experience learning how to do less with more, as I’ve seen my team size shrink from 20 writers on one product – to seven – to five – to one. I’m currently the only writer for two products, so content reuse is the only thing that allows me to keep everything straight!

 

 

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