A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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The Importance of Building a SharePoint Team

A successful team is perhaps won of the most critical aspects to a successful SharePoint project, because without the right people you can’t make it happen. The first thing to say is that building a successful team is not about hiring as many developers as possible and hope they get it all to work. In fact the place to start is not with the people who will implement the project but those who will envisage and plan the project.

Baddeley, Peter. End User SharePoint (2009). Articles>Content Management>Collaboration>Microsoft SharePoint


Important Players in the Content Review Game

One of the things that makes quality documentation on a product is a review process. I think many technical communicators would agree with me, however, that sometimes the process becomes more cumbersome than beneficial. The more people involved, the harder it is to meet deadlines.

Gryphon Mountain (2008). Articles>Documentation>Collaboration


The Important Role of Hard Work in Talented People

People sometimes talk in the creative field about talent — this abstract concept of some type of natural ability, miraculously bestowed upon a chosen few people. The notion of talent is romantic, mysterious and somehow inspiring; both to those who hope they have it and those who believe they have it.

Gube, Isaac. Design Instruct (2011). Articles>Collaboration>Management


Impressions from German/American Projects

Differences in culture add problems, as we learned during several months of work with four mixed German/American project teams.

Thiele, Ulrich. TC-FORUM (2000). Articles>Collaboration>International


Improving Technical Reviews

Improving technical reviews, when subject matter experts, or SMEs, review content for technical accuracy, is a challenge every technical communicator faces sometime during their career. Every year, journal articles are published, presentations are made, and discussions are initiated on this very topic. Most of them conclude that SMEs are difficult. It's your job to bribe, cajole, or coerce a better review out of your SME. I don't agree.

Idoura, Alexia. Carolina Communique (2004). Articles>TC>Collaboration>SMEs


Improving the Writer-Developer Relationship   (PDF)

Many technical communicators work in environments where their contributions and value-add to business are not well understood. This perpetuates a lack of respect for the technical communication profession on the part of the technologists with whom we work. By improving our overall work processes and practices, we can change the perceptions of those around us for the better, improving our relationships and increasing the quality of our contributions. We can also begin to see technical communication as a practiced profession equal in importance to the professions of the technologists with whom we work.

Colvin, Richard D. and Virginia Beecher. STC Proceedings (1999). Articles>Workplace>Collaboration


Improving Your Interpersonal Skills

To succeed in the corporate world, then, technical types have to learn to live with -- even serve -- nontechies. This article gives tips to help you get along with -- and maybe even learn to like -- people, whether the same as us or different.

Bly, Robert W. Bly.com. Articles>Collaboration>TC


Improving Your Work Teams by Identifying Individual Styles   (PDF)

Effective teams develop a synergy that cannot be estimated or measured, but is an end result of successful projects. This synergy can be contributed to effective communications and insightful task and resource assignment. By identifying team membership styles, and applying these styles to individuals in a team, all team members can contribute to the increased synergy and ultimate success of a project. Tools to achieve this effect, as well as practical examples to demonstrate it, motivate participants to reuse style identification methods.

Fay, Brenda and Dan Fay. STC Proceedings (1996). Careers>Collaboration


In Search of Strategic Relevance for UX Teams

Although our UX management peers have shared many tactics with us that have made their groups more strategically relevant, we’re presenting just a few here. We’ll highlight what we feel are the most salient factors in getting you to the strategy table.

Nieters, Jim and Laurie Pattison. UXmatters (2008). Articles>Management>User Experience>Collaboration


In Those Fields Where Multiple Authorship is the Rule, The H-Index Should be Supplemented by Role-Based H-Indices   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Collaboration patterns among scientists are becoming more and more complicated. Even sophisticated methods for taking the number of co-authors into account do not solve all problems related to the calculation of citation measures such as the h -index. In this article we introduce role-based h-indices and in particular the major contribution h-index, denoted as h-maj, which takes only those articles into account in which the scientist plays a major or core role. As an example we provide major contribution indices for scientists in the health sciences in China. Differences between the h-index and h-maj are shown for data based on the Web of Science (WoS), and separately, based on the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) database. It is suggested to use the major contribution h-index as a supplementary index, especially in those fields where multiple ‘first authors’ and/or corresponding authors are common.

Hu, Xiojun. Journal of Information Science (2010). Articles>Collaboration>Scientific Communication


Increasing Chapter Membership Through Public Relations   (PDF)

The Orange County Chapter of STC (OCSTC) set a goal of increasing membership by 20% in one chapter year, with increased public exposure and improved member services as the primary goal. PR Committee volunteers planned and carried out eight programs to increase corporate awareness and media coverage, improve intrachapter communications, and extend community relations. Chapter membership grew by 31% during that year and membership retention was above the International average. In addition to international recognition, committee volunteers gained professionally useful skills through their efforts.

Giles, Sandra J. STC Proceedings (1997). Articles>Collaboration>Community Building>Public Relations


The Influence of E-Mail as an Interoffice Communication Tool in Small Organizations   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

E-mail has significantly impacted the way we communicate in business, possibly going so far as to affect the social structure of organizations. One under-explored effect of e-mail is how it impacts communication in smaller organizations. Given the ability of regular face-to-face interaction, is e-mail necessary to boost communication? A report of employee attitudes in one small business did provide an opportunity to observe the impact of e-mail on communications and employee attitudes. As a result, it is suspected that interoffice e-mail may serve to link formal and informal communication channels, particularly in terms of including managers to the informal communications network.

Adrian, C. Mitchell. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (2001). Articles>Workplace>Collaboration>Email


The Influence of Gender on Collaborative Projects in an Engineering Classroom   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)

Using a qualitative approach to data collection and analysis, this article discusses some of the findings from a larger study on collaboration and the role of gender. Here, we profile three student engineering teams as they participate in processes leading to the submission of a report for a team-based technical communication course. While some theorists suggest that gender can play a significant role in achieving a successful team dynamic, our study only partially supports that claim. A synopsis of two women from two predominantly male teams reveals glimpses of what the literature describes as traditional gender-linked behaviors by both men and women, but the all-female team does not conform to stereotypical patterns and their behaviors call into question the existence of these interactional styles. We suggest that factors other than gender and independent of a team’s gender composition—such as team commitment and a strong work ethic—exert a greater impact on collaboration. Nevertheless, the study does caution against assigning women to predominantly male teams since, when a team’s social structure is mostly male, traditional gender-linked interactional behaviors as well as manifestations of the culture of engineering are more likely to emerge. Overall, the study underlines the importance of examining specific face-to-face interactions to see how behavior is situationally produced in order to more fully understand the interactional strategies open to individuals.

Ingram, Sandra and Anne Parker. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication (2002). Articles>Collaboration>Writing


Influencing Strategy by Design: Design Skills

Many design organizations seek to impact strategic decision-making by learning how to speak the language of business. But until they master these new skills, they are likely to be the least qualified people to discuss business strategy at the corporate decision-making table. Yet no one else at the table besides the design team has a complete set of design skills.

Wroblewski, Luke. Functioning Form (2008). Articles>Web Design>Collaboration>Persuasive Design


Information About Video Conferencing: What You Need To Know

Video conferencing is the technique of meeting in a group over a network employing video and audio transmission technology and equipment. Armed with information about video conferencing businessmen, technologists, scientists and government heads started to explore ways to bring the world closer together and enable meetings of many people located in different parts of the globe. Video conferencing is the process of being able to see and interact with a group of people located at any point of the world at the same time.

Shakir A. Ezine Articles (2007). Articles>Collaboration>Videoconferencing>Online


Information Development at Rockwell Software – Part 1: Organizational Issues and Work Process   (PDF)

Establishing and maintaining good relationships with internal customers is essential for technical writers. In our case, engineers are our internal customers and managing professional relationships with them can be challenging. At Rockwell Software, writers are matrixed into engineering organizations. This diffuses technical writing’s presence, but it gives us access to information we might not have if we were in a separate department. Given this organization, we have found that establishing personal relationships with engineers before focusing on work helps ensure our success. Finally, usability testing serves as a place where engineers and writers can focus on the success of their product as a whole.

Butler, Scott A., Eric J. Grabowski and Myron M. Shawala III. STC Proceedings (1998). Careers>TC>Collaboration


Information Development Organizations Evolving to Keep Pace with Change: A Collaborative Conversation of Information Development Managers    (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article reports on an online discussion of the Advisory Council for Information Development Management (CIDM), which is composed of directors, managers, and CEOs from corporations and a consulting firm. The conversation, conducted over 3 weeks in January 2000, covered several key themes: The expectation of greater productivity while budgets are flat or decreasing Meeting this expectation means a considerable rethinking, doing more with less, improving processes, and understanding total cost. The need for higher quality and improved usability This important need leads some organizations back to traditional editing, to embracing different development techniques (such as single sourcing, structured documents, and standard English), and to more robust interfaces. Innovative leadership and effective organization Strong leadership in a supportive and flexible organization is ultimately the cornerstone for success.

Rosenquist, Deborah J. Technical Communication Online (2001). Articles>Management>Collaboration


Information Management and Hazard Analysis   (PDF)   (members only)

As a technical communicator, how can you “stay in the loop” throughout the life of a project? Frampton discusses the ways in which TCs can contribute their expertise from the very beginning.

Frampton, Beth. Intercom (2008). Articles>Collaboration>Online


Information Technology and Organizational Change   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The profession of technical communication is in transition. While a few might argue that we are in danger of being swallowed up by large, institutional realignments, it seems more likely that the future workplace (as characterized by Senge, among others) will put communication, culture, and collaboration at the center of work. However, in order for the profession to exploit these opportunities, we must understand the impact of integrated information technology (IT) on organizations. I summarize the interaction of corporate culture, leadership/management, human resources, and advanced networking and web-based applications (more commonly called an Intranet) for the successful integration of new IT products into an established and well-defined organization. Background research for this paper was conducted as part of an Army Summer Faculty Research and Engineering grant.

Carlson, Patricia A. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (2001). Careers>Business Communication>Technology>Collaboration


Innovation Workshops: Facilitating Product Innovation

Innovation workshops can both help you come up with great ideas and align your multidisciplinary product team around them. Innovation workshops facilitate collaboration, foster trust, and promote free expression. They provide a venue for engaging a cross-functional team in brainstorming and creative ideation, filtering a large set of ideas, collaborating on design, rapidly gathering user feedback and iterating designs, and getting the consensus you need to drive an innovative product to market.

Nieters, Jim. UXmatters (2009). Articles>Project Management>Collaboration


Inside Out/Outside In: Transcending the Boundaries That Divide the Academy and Industry

Having lived and worked on both sides of the academe-industry border, I've thought a great deal about the negative attitudes held by so many who live in both of these parts of the larger world of technical communication.

Hayhoe, George F. George Hayhoe Associates (2001). Articles>Collaboration>Industry and Academy


Inspiring Reviewers to Review Your Documents

To obtain good reviews, you must make the process as painless as possible for reviewers.

Hart, Geoffrey J.S. TECHWR-L (2008). Articles>Editing>Collaboration>SMEs


Instant Messaging in the Workplace   (PDF)

Proposes six guidelines for employee use of instant messaging.

Hoffman, Jeff. Intercom (2004). Articles>Workplace>Collaboration>Instant Messaging


Institutionalising Usability: Ways to Embed Usability in Your Company or Organisation

Trying to embed usability in an organisation needs more than persuasive, logical arguments. You also need to appeal to managers' emotions and political ambitions. This article describes five successful strategies that we've seen work in companies large and small.

Travis, David. UserFocus (2005). Articles>Usability>Collaboration>Workplace


Instructional Strategies To Accommodate a Team-Teaching Approach   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The concept of team teaching is attributed to William Alexander, known as the “father of the American middle school,” who delivered a presentation at a 1963 conference held at Cornell University. Alexander’s main idea was to establish teams of three to five middle school teachers who would be in charge of team teaching content to large groups of pupils, ranging from 75 to 150. In 2002, the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB-I) Board of Directors formed the Management Education Task Force to examine existing and future critical educational issues. The task force identified “curricular relevance” as a “critical priority”. In an attempt to achieve “curricular relevance,” the task force recommended that business schools “blur boundaries between educational disciplines. Cross-disciplinary programs facilitate market relevance by encouraging boundary spanning teaching and thinking”. Embedded into this “critical priority” is the practice of team teaching, with the objective of blurring disciplinary boundaries. This article provides a description of instructional strategies to accommodate a team-teaching approach and gives recommendations for developing an effective team-teaching learning environment.

Gaytan, Jorge. Business Communication Quarterly (2010). Articles>Education>Collaboration



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