From preparation and preliminaries to formulating a Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement (or BATNA), teams will learn what to bring to the negotiating table, how to listen actively and participate constructively while there, and what to do when negotiations don’t go as planned.
Re-engineering — a word that strikes fear into the hearts of middle-management. Our company was hit by reengineering fever in 1995–6, and word came down that we were to break up our comfortable little documentation group and distribute the writers among product development teams. We did it, and we did it right. In this paper, we · Review the thinking and planning that went into the conversion of a 30-person, centralized, corporatewide documentation group into a decentralized, loosely affiliated community of technical writers. · Describe the implementation of our plans and some of the pitfalls we encountered and overcame. · Share an evaluation of the success of the reorganization, and some tips that we learned along the way.
As the cycle times for developing new software technologies continue to shrink, the relationship between those who develop technology and those who write about it becomes ever more a factor in maintaining up-to-date, complete, and accurate documentation. Strong, positive working writerengineer relationships can relieve interdepartmental tensions and reduce the anxiety experienced by both writers and engineers at the end of a release cycle. Too often, differences in personality, communication style, and job requirements become barriers to building strong relationships. By examining our differences, we can explore strategies to improve the writer-engineer relationship.
Many large, hierarchical organizations are segmentalist in their approach to management. Nonetheless, such organizations are capable of supporting integrated, team approaches to particular types of communication problems. For such approaches to be successful, however, there must be strong managerial commitments to team support. This paper discusses how committed leadership, specific production guidelines, and empowerment enhanced the activities of an Air Force writing team assembled to help revise and edit Air Force Policy Directives containing corporate level guidance on a variety of topics.
As editors, it is good to remember the following points to discern and work through conflict situations.
You don’t have to be an officer to benefit professionally from your local STC chapter meetings. Start attending your local chapter meetings and discover the many forms of buried treasure. These treasures will result in a new perspective to your writing, an increased library of professional resources, professional writers being hired at your workplace, and the chance to view the “Best of Show” writing. You can reap rewards such as these with a small investment of personal time.
The University of Colorado at Denver’s Internet Task Force designed a home page on the World Wide Web (WWW) for the School of Education, while simultaneously studying the group dynamics of the collaborative learning/design process. We developed a 4-point model which is appropriate for technically sophisticated adult learners, instructional designers, software developers, and information technologists. Critical features are reflection-in-action, building a common knowledge base, taking ownership of an authentic task, and generating research questions.
We’ve all heard about empowerment. It means being innovative, taking risks, reaping rewards. But how do you apply it to your work? How can you empower yourself and others? This demonstration examines the true meaning of empowerment and offers time-tested scenarios to drive the points of empowerment home. See the empowered individual; feel the teamwork blossom; and learn how to “just say no”!
With the advent of the World Wide Web, many areas besides Publications produce documents for outside customers. This paper discusses how to establish and organize a forum to make, track, and publicize company-wide style guidelines.
Discussion about fostering international relationships for academic programs in technical communication.
This session offers participants an opportunity to learn and contribute ideas about forming a policies and procedures professional interest committee (PIC) within STC. The presenter defines 'policies and procedures' and its growing importance in industry. Represents STC’s requirements for forming a PIC. He proposes a mission statement, goals, objectives, and activities for having this PIC. Participants comment on and volunteer for making this PIC a success.
This presentation addresses the issues that technical communicators face when team members are in different geographic locations. Issues such as communication, team building, project management and planning, and successful practices that help teams succeed without regard to their physical locations will be discussed. The management of distributed teams, what obstacles managers face, including labor and employment laws, cost-of-living relative to salaries in varied locations, and how to conduct performance appraisals when managers and employees work thousands of miles apart will also be explored, along with employee perspectives and issues of change and collaboration.
I’m growing tired of presentations that are little more than lectures, so I’m going to experiment with more user-led techniques like this. Unfortunately, available wi fi at chapter meetings or conferences with participants who have computers or mobile data devices is pretty rare. But if you do have the opportunity, definitely try incorporating Twitter, even if only for Q&A at the end of your presentation.
A mentor helps you master the unspoken rules of corporate America. If you are energetic and demonstrate initiative, a mentor welcomes the opportunity to assist your growth. To accomplish your mentoring goals, define what you want to achieve and then select a mentor. A successful mentoring relationship requires nourishing to maintain—you must value your mentor's time and demonstrate appreciation. When you no longer require your mentor's guidance, you can end the mentoring phase of the relationship with honesty and appreciation.
In this paper I describe my experience in taking over the management of an ongoing, complex, constantly changing, multiauthored document. I offer the following rules: 1. Learn all you can about the document before you make any changes. 2. Clean up the old document. 3. Work within the already existing system. 4. Keep records. 5. Change as little as possible.
Have you been exposed to one or more quality initiatives? Did this exposure leave you with strong but mixed emotional reactions? In a complex environment of organizational risk and change, how do we as communicators do the right thing the right way? Changes are so rapid that before one new vision of what’s right is fully implemented, it seems that another, even better vision comes in to take its place. By using a Japanese model for customer satisfaction, the product information quality initiatives at my company were implemented in three broad areas: quality assurance and control, quality performance and improvement, and quality excitement and planning.
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.
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.
In the summer of 2003, we worked on creating a general description of Drupal--an open source content management system (CMS)--for the "About Drupal" page on drupal.org. While Drupal is clearly within the class of applications known as content management systems, we felt that to describe it with that term alone would not present a clear picture of the breadth and range of Drupal's capabilities. Thus, the final description ended up describing Drupal with a total of four characteristics, although notably not distinct content management; weblog; discussion-based community software; and collaboration. Why is it then that the term CMS alone would not suffice? The word "content" places much emphasis on the product over process; it fails to emphasize the social use of CMSes, a mislabeling which places too much emphasis on the content itself at the expense of the communication and collaboration the better of these systems implement. In order to better understand how CMSes are being influenced by the precepts of social software and their role in creating social networks online, this presentation will: explore Drupal's social software features, narrate its genesis as software serving a community; and explain the influence of the community itself on Drupal development and the software's influence on the community that creates and uses it. In composing this text, we draw on the coauthors' unique perspectives. One of us is the founder and lead developer of Drupal, and the other a researcher in Computers and Writing and a participant in the Drupal community.
Discover creative solutions to inter-personal problems in the workplace using an iterative approach: observation of moment-to-moment interactions to assess the effectiveness of our responses. We will present six options for resolving conflicts, clarifying when and how to use each through case studies, work in small groups, and simulations.