A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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Actively Managing Your Schedule   (members only)

Uncertainty is the only certainty of a freelancer’s life, but it’s also a problem that afflicts wage slaves, as I learned during the first 15 years of my career. Something unexpected always seems to be popping up, disrupting our carefully crafted plans and leading to long days and late nights. Fortunately, there are ways to make life less uncertain than it might otherwise be, and each involves actively managing our schedules rather than waiting for others to define them for us. Active schedule management involves three types of activity.

Hart, Geoffrey J.S. Intercom (2010). Articles>Project Management>Planning


Be Productive When a Project Stalls   (PDF)   (members only)

With more and more companies adopting the Darwin Information Typing Architecture, Baril discusses how to choose a compatible content management system that also supports your company's processes.

Gutowski, Amanda and Lori L. Pennington. Intercom (2008). Articles>Project Management>Planning>Collaboration


Cognitive Organization and Identity Maintenance in Multicultural Teams: A Discourse Analysis of Decision-Making Meetings   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Measuring culture is a central issue in international management research and has been traditionally accomplished using indices of cultural values. Although a number of researchers have attempted to identify measures to account for the core elements of culture, there is no consensus on those measures. This article uses an alternative method—discourse analysis—to observe what actually occurs in terms of communication practices in intercultural decision-making meetings, specifically those involving U.S.-born native English speakers and participants from East Asian countries. Previous discourse studies in this area suggest that differences in communication practices may be attributed to power differentials or language competence. Our findings suggest that the conversation style differences we observed might be attributed to intergroup identity issues instead.

Aritz, Jolanta and Robyn C. Walker. JBC (2010). Articles>Management>Collaboration>Planning


Content Lifecycle

The content lifecycle covers four general areas: the strategic analysis, the content collection, management of the content, and publication, which includes post-publication maintenance and a loop back to analysis for the next cycle. This lifecycle is present whether the content is controlled within a content management system or not, whether it gets translated or not, whether it gets deleted at the end of its life or revised and re-used.

Intentional Design (2010). Articles>Content Management>Content Strategy>Planning


Content Strategy: Why Content Matters

Without content, there wouldn’t be content management. The mere fact that our industry decided that we needed a system upon which to keep track of all the words, photos, charts and information that we produce is a clear indication that content is important. Yet, for a lot of companies, content is an afterthought, handled by marketing and legal departments.

Peacock, Marisa. CMSwire (2010). Articles>Content Management>Planning>Content Strategy


Create Effective Project Milestone Sheets

The project milestone sheet is an incredibly important document for freelancers and their clients. It defines all the most important tasks, who is assigned to them, and when they are due. In other words, it serves as the map for your entire work process.

Roque, Celine. Web Worker Daily (2009). Articles>Project Management>Planning>Methods


Creativity 2.E

Are you a Planner who thinks about design? Maybe you are a designer who obsesses about the business impact of your designs. Or you might be an Information Architect who thinks about motion, transitions, multimedia, and uses tools like storyboarding and visual scenarios. Or how about a Developer who comes up with the “big idea”?

Armano, David. UX Magazine (2006). Articles>Project Management>Planning


Enterprise 2.0: What's Your Game Plan? What, If Any, Will Be the Role of the Information Intermediary?   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

In a world where organizations are increasingly adopting Enterprise 2.0 technology what, if any, will be the role of the information intermediary? Where can information intermediaries add value in their organizations and how can they ride and harness the wave of new technologies that spring up on a seemingly daily basis? Is this a period of boom or bust?

Marfleet, Jackie. Business Information Review (2008). Articles>Management>Knowledge Management>Planning


Everything in Moderation: Using Content Units to Manage UX

I’ve found that separating client requests into content units removes uncertainty and offers clearer direction, while helping your client recognize each individual request as a deliverable, requiring assignments and responsibilities. To do this, I follow a four-step process that helps delineate what content units each section of a Web site must cover—as opposed to content that acts as filler, or filler units.

LaFerriere, Keith. UXmatters (2008). Articles>Project Management>Planning>User Experience


Finding Space to Breathe: Managing Overwhelming End-of-Project Tasks

I'm nearing the release of a project that I’ve been working on for about a year. All those deadlines that seemed to be many months in the distance are suddenly weeks away. As the project manager was reviewing the rollout schedule with me, he paused to admit that he was a little overwhelmed with everything going on. There’s simply a lot to do with a product rollout — user acceptance testing, quality assurance regression testing, change management release dates and coordination, bug triage decisions, user training, announcement emails, migration and mapping decisions, post-release support, hot fixes, and other communications.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2010). Articles>Project Management>Planning>Collaboration


Fixed Quotes and Broken Promises

How to tie down the details of a project and protect yourself from unexpected changes that can drag a 'peach project' into the 'pits of despair and financial ruin.'

Juillet, Christopher. Boston Broadside (1990). Articles>Project Management>Planning


Gantt to Glory: Evolving from Project Management to Successful Web Operations

Is the sheer possession of a PMP intended to be the Holy Grail of successful web projects, known to fail at a startling rate, or simply a way to divorce oneself from whatever outcome may result from the web project?

Podnar, Kristina. Content Wrangler, The (2008). Articles>Web Design>Project Management>Planning


Getting Things Done: How I Set Priorities

For me, it’s all about planning. And planning, by extension, is decision-making.

Technical Writing Tips (2010). Articles>Project Management>Planning


Het Managen van “Schulden”

Een veelvoorkomend aspect van content management werk binnen uw CMS dat tóch vaak over het hoofd wordt gezien, kan worden omschreven als het managen van schulden, oftewel “managing debt”. Taken binnen het CMS die worden uitgevoerd op een “goed-genoeg-voor-nu” manier, in plaats van op een hele goede (slimme, efficiënte) manier, vergroten uw “schuld”. Dit komt omdat deze aanpak later extra correcties vereist en onderhoud tot een lastige, tijdrovende taak maakt.

Crossphase (2010). (Dutch) Articles>Content Management>Information Design>Planning


High-Cost Usability Sometimes Makes Sense

Computing the net present value (NPV) lets you estimate the most profitable level of usability investment. For big projects, expensive usability can pay off.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2007). Articles>Usability>Project Management>Planning


How Much Should Vendor Sales and Marketing Skill Really Matter for Customers?

When I parse the comments of technology customers in the midst of long-term vendor relationships, what I hear them asking for is predictability, rather than commercial zest. Sure, they want their suppliers to innovate, but since when is innovation a function of sales and marketing skill?

Byrne, Tony. CMSwatch (2009). Articles>Content Management>Planning


How to Cut Down Your Commitments

Do you feel constantly busy – and in demand? Are you the one person at work who everyone seems to ask when they need a favor? Do you have a host of family obligations – driving your kids all over town, helping your mom spring clean her house, cooking dinner for your household? And are you involved in voluntary groups who demand your time and attention?

Dumb Little Man (2010). Articles>Project Management>Planning


How to Plan On-line and Paper Versions of a Software Manual

On projects for which you must produce both on-line and paper documentation, there are many things you should consider before you start.

Kozuma, Bruce. Boston Broadside (1991). Articles>Documentation>Project Management>Planning


How to Prioritise Your Work

We all have a need to make sure we are working on the most important thing, the thing that needs our attention and focus the most. Given that all of us will have more than one thing that needs to get done, you need to prioritise. But how?

McLean, Gordon. One Man Writes (2010). Articles>Project Management>Planning


Lying in a Hammock, or, Having a Single Goal without a Purpose

When you live in the moment, completing the activity itself is the success. And because writing is so multifaceted in effect — the effect both on me and others — having an open purpose doesn’t limit the results. I’m not narrow-mindedly searching for a specific achievement to happen. Instead, I’m open to unconsidered possibilities, if any of those possibilities decide to unravel.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2009). Articles>Project Management>Planning>Writing


Managing “Debt”

A common but easily overlooked aspect of the Content Management work within your CMS can be seen as "managing debt". Tasks within the CMS that are done in a good-enough-for-now manner, instead of in a really good (i.e. smart, efficient) way, increase your "debt", as they will require extra fixes and corrections later and make maintenance of the system increasingly tedious and time-consuming.

Crossphase (2010). Articles>Content Management>Information Design>Planning


Measure Twice, Cut Once

Acting without planning can be expensive, and because of the potential cost of poorly thought-out actions, we should not only plan, but plan twice.

Hart, Geoffrey J.S. Geoff-Hart.com (2000). Articles>Project Management>Planning>User Centered Design


The Nature of Choice Sets and Their Affect on Decision Making

In this column, I’ll expand upon the concept of relativity and how the context in which people make decisions significantly influences decision outcomes. Specifically, we’ll look at how the nature of a choice set affects people’s ability to decide.

Roller, Colleen. UXmatters (2011). Articles>Management>Planning>User Experience


Organization Through Simplification (Sort of)

To keep organized, you don't need a complex system. In fact, as this blog post suggests, managing time and tasks is best done using a simple system.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2009). Articles>Writing>Time Management>Planning


Playing to Win: Building a Strategic Plan   (PDF)

This workshop uses games to provide an overview of strategic planning. The first step in strategic planning is identifying the objectives of your organization. Participants play a version of musical chairs to identify and prioritize the objectives of STC. The second step is developing a vision ofyour organization meeting its goals. Participants play a version of darts as they develop a picture of STC fulfilling its objectives. The third step is building the plan that will fulfill the vision. Participants play a board game whose object is to create the best plan with limited resources.

Collins, Trevor and Leila Merritt. STC Proceedings (1995). Articles>Management>Planning



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