A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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An Insurgency of Quality   (PDF)

For the last two years I’ve focused my attention on the growth and success of agile development methods. There is nothing in the history of software quite as significant as the agile revolution. While I’m thrilled by the awesome potential of this new way of thinking, I remain aware that most revolutions in history have been co-opted and have failed to live up to their potential.

Cooper, Alan. Cooper Journal (2010). Presentations>Collaboration>Quality>Agile


Integrate Yourself!   (PDF)   (members only)

Looking for a way to demonstrate your value to management? Pao’s advice is to become as involved in your organization as possible by volunteering for assignments and being proactive in project planning.

Pao, Cynthia. Intercom (2009). Careers>Collaboration>Workplace>Planning


Integrating Communities of Practice into the Fabric of Organizations

Even when some recognize the need to scratch that collaborative itch, it can be difficult to resist the urge to impede such efforts, so you need to consciously think about what you are doing to foster trust in your organization’s CoP efforts.

APQC (2006). Articles>Collaboration>Organizational Communication


Integrating Social Media Into Existing Work Environments: The Case of Delicious   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article offers an example case of technical communicators integrating the social bookmarking site Delicious into existing work environments. Using activity theory to present conceptual foundations and concrete steps for integrating the functionalities of social media, the article builds on research within technical communication that argues for professional communicators to participate more fully in the design of communication systems and software. By examining the use of add-ons and tools created for Delicious, and the customized use of Rich Site Syndication (RSS) feeds that the site publishes, the author argues for addressing the context-sensitive needs of project teams by integrating the functionality of social media applications generally and repurposing their user-generated data.

Stolley, Karl. Journal of Business and Technical Communication (2009). Articles>Workplace>Collaboration>Social Networking


Integrating UX into the Product Backlog: The User Experience Integration Matrix

Teams moving to agile often struggle to integrate agile with best practices in user-centered design (UCD) and user experience (UX) in general. Fortunately, using a UX Integration Matrix helps integrate UX and agile by including UX information and requirements right in the product backlog. While both agile and UX methods share some best practices—like iteration and defining requirements based on stories about users—agile and UX methods evolved for different purposes, supporting different values.

Innes, Jon. Boxes and Arrows (2012). Articles>User Experience>Collaboration>Agile


Interact to Produce Better Technical Communicators: Academia and Industry   (PDF)

Focus groups exploring the possibilities of collaborations between industry and academia took place at annual STC conferences in 1993 and 1994. As a result, the STC Academe-Industry Advisory Committee has developed bibliographies and research tools concerning this subject and in 1996, spearheaded the successful effort to appropriate STC funds for academic internships. This session builds upon those earlier programs and has a specific goal: the findings of the focus groups will direct the next round of the Society’s Academe/Industry Relations Advisory Committee’s efforts to find new ways of increasing industry and academic collaboration.

Teich, Thea, Janice C. 'Ginny' Redish and Kenneth T. Rainey. STC Proceedings (1995). Presentations>Collaboration>Industry and Academy


INTERACTIONARY: Sports for Design Training and Team Building

This is an experiment in design education. The idea is to explode the process of design by forcing insane time constraints, and asking teams of designers to work together in front of a live audience. From what we've seen, it forces the discussion of design process, teamwork, and organization, and asks important questions about how designers do what they do. Below are summaries of previous events, and information about how to organize your own Interactionary.

Berkun, Scott. UIWeb (2001). Articles>Management>Collaboration


Interdisciplinary/Inter-Program Research

Two presentations about collaboration in research between diverse departments and units.

Brady, Ann, Robert R. Johnson, Michael J. Salvo and Tammy S. Conard-Salvo. CPTSC (2005). Presentations>Collaboration>Research


The Intermingling of Aesthetic Sensibilities and Instrumental Rationalities in a Collaborative Arts Studio   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article argues for the theoretical and practical incorporation of aesthetic sensibilities into the communicative management of hybrid organizing. Using Dewey's Art as Experience as a conceptual framework, it explores imaginative and aesthetic practices as knowledge-producing resources for organizing and social change. The analysis centers on the complex and contradictory ways that artful capacities and instrumental rationalities interweave to achieve the organizational order of a collaborative art studio. Using discourses from multiple stakeholders, this article examines in detail three themes: art as creation and vocation, art as ephemeral integration, and art as survival and social change. Findings are discussed in the context of other scholarship committed to recovering and fostering alternative logics for organizing.

Harter, Lynn M., Mark Leeman, Stephanie Norander, Stephanie L. Young and William K. Rawlins. Management Communication Quarterly (2008). Articles>Business Communication>Organizational Communication>Collaboration


International Team Management

The last half century has seen enormous change impacting the way we work. The world is shrinking with advances in information technology playing a crucial role in facilitating the global expansion of organizations. International teams are now a common phenomenon with many large organizations structuring their workforce according to function rather than geography. Successful organizations do not hesitate to move their talents around the world to ensure that they have the right skills and knowledge in the right location when necessary. But what does it take to manage such a culturally diversified and geographically dispersed team?

Wellings, Cathy. TC World (2009). Careers>Management>Collaboration>International


Interpretative Management in Business Meetings   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Middle managers interpret experiences and observations of employees and relate them to organizational contexts, practices, and strategies. By analyzing authentic verbal communication between middle managers and employees, this article will draw five conclusions about how interpretational work support organizational goals and values: 1. Middle managers and employees collaborate in interpreting tasks in relation to organizational context; 2. This interpretative work is based on language acquisition: learning the vocabulary of the organization; 3. The managers articulate the process, explicitly defining reality and influencing language use; 4. Employees show expectation of having their experiences interpreted by managers; 5. Employees may challenge managers with competing interpretations. This article will contribute to the study of leadership communication by combining organization communication theory and conversation analytic methodology. The article shows important ways in which middle managers "do leadership": by contextualizing employee actions and bringing employee perceptions in accordance with executive-level perceptions of organizational practices.

Nielsen, Mie Femø. JBC (2009). Articles>Business Communication>Organizational Communication>Collaboration


Interpreting Editorese

Even if an editor loves, loves, loves your work, she is still likely to have to shepherd it through some kind of review process — either internally, in the case of a trade house, or to external academic readers. Many manuscripts die that way, despite the "interest" of the press. Those that are not outright killed can be wounded and sent back to you for some critical care.

Toor, Rachel. Chronicle of Higher Education (2009). Articles>Publishing>Editing>Collaboration


Intra- and Inter-Cultural Usability in Computer-Supported Collaboration   (peer-reviewed)

In this paper, we argue for an increased scope of universal design to encompass usability and accessibility for not only users with physical disabilities but also for users from different cultures. Towards this end, we present an empirical evaluation of cultural usability in computer-supported collaboration. The premise of this research is that perception and appropriation of socio-technical affordances vary across cultures. In an experimental study with a computer-supported collaborative learning environment, pairs of participants from similar and different cultures (American-American, American-Chinese, and Chinese-Chinese) appropriated affordances and produced technological intersubjectivity. Cultural usability was analyzed through the use of performance and satisfaction measures. The results show a systemic variation in efficiency, effectiveness, and satisfaction between the two cultural groups. Implications of these findings for the research and practice of usability, in general, and cultural usability, in particular, are discussed in this paper.

(2010). Articles>Collaboration>Usability>Universal Usability


Intranet Teams: a Leadership and Coaching Role

The intranet team often becomes viewed as a gatekeeper or bottleneck that does little more than say 'no' to business units. The business then reacts by rebelling against this centralised control, or simply working around the intranet team. There is a better way. Intranet teams should instead look to playing a leadership and coaching role in the organisation. These two approaches provide a range of techniques for encouraging organisational change and supporting staff activities.

Robertson, James. Step Two (2004). Design>Web Design>Collaboration>Project Management


Introducing and Dealing With Changes in Documentation Work Practices

Over time as we become experts in a specific job or a specific context, we develop theories of practice and heuristics that provide mental shortcuts for us to quickly evaluate familiar problem sets and develop solutions without exerting the kind of mental energy required for novel tasks. In essence, we can operate on a kind of workplace‐triggered autopilot. However, these theories of practice can lead to “cognitive distortions” when the situation changes or is different than we had anticipated. Furthermore, these theories of practice can actually cause the distortion in judgment, as we attempt to apply our expertise to arenas in which they are not effective or relevant.

Cuppan, Gregory P. Brainery.net (2010). Articles>Knowledge Management>Collaboration


Introducing Engineering Students to Intellectual Teamwork: The Teaching and Practice of Peer Feedback in the Professional Communication Classroom   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)

A rich discussion of collaboration as integral to writing in academia and the workplace has been on-going for some time among writing instructors and researchers. The outcomes of this discussion have convinced some writing instructors to promote peer feedback as one of the forms of collaborative writing in the classroom. In this paper we report on the preliminary stages of a longitudinal study of the role and place of peer feedback in the development of students' writing.

Artemeva, Natasha and Susan Logie. LLAD (2002). Articles>Education>Engineering>Collaboration


Introduction: Four Carrots and a Stick   (PDF)

We must understand that if we graduate engineering students who have a full complement of communication skills, we will better prepare them to be more effective professionals as well as highly valued citizens. Clear communcation and clear thinking are mutually reinforcing. Together they are a powerful combination that will serve well the individual, our nation and world in the exciting years ahead.

Dowell, Earl H. LLAD (1999). Careers>Collaboration>Professionalism>Engineering


Is Gen Y Teamwork Killing Creativity?

Generation Y is all about the team, preferring conformity inside the lines over pushing boundaries or ourselves. It's incredibly easy for crowdsourcing and group-think to take over. The wisdom of the crowd is everywhere.

Thorman, Rebecca. Modite (2009). Articles>Collaboration


Is Lone Writing Becoming a Team Sport?   (PDF)   (members only)

Larbi discusses the transition—including advantages—that many lone writers face as globalization becomes more prevalent and individual consultants transform into lone writer teams.

Larbi, Nancy E. Intercom (2008). Articles>Writing>Technical Writing>Collaboration


Is Open Source is Killing the Lone Coder?

It is probably more true that open source is helping the lone coder find a niche or their own market share. There are plenty of them and more are appearing everyday. With potential clients looking for specialists in content management software like Drupal, Joomla, Mambo, Typo3 and a gang of newcomers finding a niche is becoming increasingly easier.

Hiveminds (2005). Articles>Collaboration>Software>Open Source


Is the Internet a Self-Correcting Mechanism?   (PDF)

The hype surrounding the hype surrounding the Internet has made it into all kinds of animals. But it's a self-correcting mechanism.

Fleishman, Glenn. Adobe Magazine (1996). Articles>Information Design>Collaboration


Is the Price Right? The Education of the Design Client

Jeff Fisher advises us on how to educate our client base about the cost, value and time investment of design services.

Fisher, Jeffrey P. Graphics.com. Design>Collaboration


Is This Meeting Really Necessary?

In a world of virtual tools—blogs, wikis, feeds, forums, listservs, e-mail, IM, chat, Twitter, social networks—one would think that the traditional sit-down, face-to-face meetings had been relegated to a place in a historical museum among other old, discarded traditions (like wearing cravats). But even in the 21st century, many people still believe that if you want to accomplish serious planning and discussion, you need an in-person meeting.

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


Is Wiki Under Your Radar?

Your staff may already be using one of the most productive collaboration tools ever built.

Dickerson, Chad. InfoWorld (2004). Articles>Collaboration>Content Management>Wikis


The Issue of Quality in Professional Documentation: How Can Academia Make More of a Difference?   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article recommends strategies academics can use to contribute to an issue of great interest in industry: how best to define, measure, and achieve quality documentation.  These strategies include contextualizing quality definitions, advocating the use of multiple quality measures, conducting research to identify specific heuristics for defining and measuring quality in particular workplace contexts, and partnering with industry to educate upper management about those heuristics and the benefits of promoting technical communicators to the strategic role of organizational “gatekeepers of quality.”

Spilka, Rachel. Technical Communication Quarterly (2000). Articles>Documentation>Collaboration>Technical Writing



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