STC Summit—Tuesday’s Workshop Tips

by Sherri Henkin on May 20, 2016

From the many choices, I selected these workshops:

DevOps Docs: Fast, Great Content for the Cloud

Vanessa Wilburn (IBM Corporation)

  • Constantly changing GUI/features; documentation changes need to be as real-time as possible.
  • User stories that address the customer’s needs.
  • Need the right tools to move quickly: Agile; automate as much as possible.
  • Writers attend stand-up meetings from the beginning of the project.

Effectively Using PDF as Source

Liz Roscovius (D2 Worldwide) and Mike Sawyer (Control4)

  • Caveat for the tips/tools in the presentation: must have the full version of Adobe Acrobat.
  • Before extracting text, you might be able to edit in Acrobat DC.
  • For extraction: collect information from Document Properties; extract non-editable text as jpg.
  • Graphics: need to know whether the graphic is raster/bitmap or vector (vector works better than bitmap); could be several steps including conversion to Word, then open in DTP, or export image.

Three Hats of Independence

Rich Maggiani (Solari Communication)

  • As an independent consultant, we wear three hats simultaneously: expertise, marketing, and finance.
  • Expertise: keep up with industry changes; provide a specific service.
  • Marketing: if it’s hard for us, get over it! Our website represents us visually, tells our story.
  • Finance: bill and collect on time; “Don’t be afraid to ask for money!”

Seek and You Will Find: Taxonomy and Delivery

Joe Gelb (Zoomin Software)

  • Content needs to be available at all customer touchpoints: search engines, documentation portal, knowledge base, call center, customer community, and IoT (Internet of Things).
  • Key to success: deliver relevant content quickly.
  • Best practice: shared taxonomy between technical documentation, support, and other groups that create and use content.

Closing the Deal: Getting that Freelance Project

Alisa Bonsignore (Clarifying Complex Ideas)

  • Before we close a deal, we need to set the stage, find prospects, research the client company and contact, and pitch the proposal.
  • Make sure your proposal details all the terms; some examples: the scope, deadlines, fees, responsibilities of client and your responsibilities, and expiration date of the proposal.
  • During the process, we build a bridge so that there’s mutual trust and good working relationship.


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