The Cherryleaf world tour of England – fancy meeting up?

This Autumn, we’ll be in a number of cities around England, meeting up with people involved with content strategy and technical communication.

This is a great opportunity to tell us what you’re involved with at the moment, pick our brains, or discover more about our services.

You never know – if you have a content-related issue, we may be able to help.

Here is the current itinerary:

  • Week commencing 16th September – London
  • Week commencing 23rd September – Bristol
  • Week commencing 30th October – Brighton
  • Week commencing 7th October – London
  • Week commencing 14th October – Oxford
  • Week commencing 21st October – Cambridge
  • Week commencing 28th October – London
  • Week commencing 11th November – Reading
  • Week commencing 18th November – Birmingham
  • Week commencing 2nd December – Manchester

We’ll also be in Wiesbaden, Germany on 7th and 8th November.

If you’d like to meet up with us, simply contact us and we’ll get back to you.

If those dates don’t suit, but you’d still like to meet us, drop us a line. Together, we should be able to find a suitable date.

Facilitated peer-group mentoring Mastermind groups for documentation managers and leaders

There’s an opportunity for a few more leaders of UK documentation teams to join the peer-group mentoring Mastermind group that we facilitate.

The quarterly face-to-face meetings have been running for a year now, with the group providing advice and assistance, under the Chatham House Rule, to fellow Documentation Managers seeking to resolve an issue they have been struggling with. It’s a process of learning and developing skills through the medium of shared experience: something from “real-life” and valuable to everyone in the meeting.

The next session will be free of charge, and will be held in Hammersmith, west London (date TBA – probably late May/early June). Other events have either been free of charge or at a notional charge to cover teas and coffees.

Contact us if this would be of interest to you.

Presentation: The future for technical writing – learning from other professions

Ellis Pratt, Sales and Marketing Director at Cherryleaf, has been invited to speak at the ISTC Cambridge area group’s meeting at 7pm on Monday 26th April. The presentation is called: “The future for technical writing – learning from other professions”.

We’ll look at what the future may hold for technical communicators, and whether we can learn lessons from similar professions, such as publishing and education. 

The event, we understand, is free and open to both ISTC and non-ISTC members alike. It will be held at CSR’s offices, on Cambridge Business Park. For more details, contact the ISTC or ourselves.

Reducing IT support call times

At the Documentation Managers peer group meeting we hosted earlier this week, one manager commented his organisation was aiming to increase the average time for each support call. This was because it believed it could eliminate all the short duration calls – through redesigning the software and better user documentation. What would be left would be the more complex problems that take longer to solve.

Having worked on a support line when I left college, I can appreciate the benefits of this approach. There’s nothing worse than spending your time repeating the same solution over and over again. So a consequence may be that they’ll also see a reduction in support staff turnover.

Allied to this approach may also be the adoption of micro-blogging communication channels. Yesterday, Yammer announced it will be launching its Communities feature on 1st March. This means organisations will be able to create their own private network channel to communicate with its customers and partners.

Feedback on our 1st Documentation Managers/Leaders mentoring meeting

We hosted the first of our peer-group mentoring meetings on Tuesday, and I pleased to say the event went as well as we could have expected. We’ve attended and hosted sessions for other entrepreneurs, but this was our first experience of running such an event for documentation managers.  The interactions and the nature of the outcomes were the same as we’ve seen before.

The feedback from the participants has been positive too:

The whole afternoon was thoroughly enjoyable as well as informative. This is a unique forum for sharing experience and ideas. It’s the only forum where we can discuss management issues specific to our profession.

Regards,
Jacquie

Firstly, thank you so much for setting up the meeting – your efforts, and Ginny’s, are very much appreciated.

As feedback, I offer my thoughts and comments:

For the first session, I thought the topic was quite challenging. Thanks to your skilled moderation and guidance, and the terrific participation of everyone, some really significant and valuable perspectives were tabled.
It may surprise you that, although I am removed from the situation that was discussed, I found it surprisingly beneficial and therapeutic to hear what everyone had to say.
Hearing the wisdom and thoughts of yourself and fellow communicators cannot be overvalued. The effect of having a safe container and the elimination of any sense of isolation enabled healthy and open discussion and the resulting stream of delving questions were very thought-provoking.

The venue was ideal, too.

Heartfelt thanks and congratulations on an excellent idea executed with skill. Please consider this a great success!

I look forward to the next meeting.
Thanks again and best regards,

John

Thank you for organising the Peer Group Meeting yesterday. I would definitely recommend these meetings to Documentation Managers/Leaders. As advertised it provided a safe forum for the subject to share their issues and receive recommendations and suggestions from a diverse group of peers.

Kind regards
Amanda

“Many thanks to Cherryleaf for setting up this Documentation Peers Group. It is a wonderful opportunity to discuss professional ideas and issues amongst a group of like-minded individuals!”

Cheers, Briana

 

It was great to meet other documentation professionals and to discuss a real issue facing the industry. Much more fun that arguing about full stops in bulleted lists.

Mark

 
We are considering setting up additional Mastermind groups – in the UK and mainland Europe – so contact us if this would be of interest to you.

Potentially these may also expand to Melbourne in Australia and Raleigh-Durham NC in the USA – again, contact us if this would be of interest to you.

Cherryleaf to host mentoring meetings for Documentation Managers

Cherryleaf will be hosting, half-day peer group meetings for documentation managers and leaders. These afternoon meetings will be held initially on a quarterly basis in Russell Square, London, under the Chatham House Rule basis of confidentiality.

These will be run in a similar way to the peer group meetings run for Chief Executives by organisations such as Vistage - in a trusted, confidential setting, leaders from diverse industries meet on a regular basis in a peer-to-peer environment to solve problems and take advantage of opportunities. A Chairman leads each meeting, guiding both process and content to ensure members achieve real results. 

These meetings are intended to complement the ISTC regional group meeting initiative. They differ in that there will be an emphasis on problem solving rather than networking, and they are aimed at a different audience.

Contact us for more details.

How do Technical Authoring teams work?

This looks like an interesting event:

“The next Cambridge ISTC group meeting will be a discussion about how technical authoring teams work:

* how are teams structured (and do all the technical authors in the
business work as a team)?
* how is work divided between authors?
* how do authors work with other people in the business?
* what is successful about that way of working and what are the
limitations?

We’ll hear about the experiences of 5 or 6 people who work (or have worked) in a variety of different contexts (as a contractor joining other authors in a company; as part of a permanent team of authors; as someone for whom authoring is only part of their job).

This will be organised as a relatively informal round-table discussion with lots of time for for Q&A and discussion.

Here are the details:

Date: Tuesday 5th August
Time: 7pm
Venue: Red Gate offices (Jeffreys Building, St Johns Innovation centre, CB4 0WS
More detailed instructions are on www.red-gate.com”

The event is free and open to anyone to attend, but numbers are limited so please let them know in advance if you’d like to come.