Manager’s guide to single sourcing: What’s the problem, why is there a need?

I thought it might be useful to look at a simple question: Why is there a need for single sourcing technical documentation? For people who aren’t technical authors, it’s often unclear why technical authors talk so much about “single sourcing”. Isn’t that just cutting and pasting? What’s the problem? In later posts we’ll look at the… Read more »

Why bother with user documentation in recessionary times?

Although many organisations see user assistance as a “good thing”, it’s not immune to the belt tightening that many organisations face in times of difficulty. Business expert Mike Southon recommends that in recessionary times, organisations should focus on getting sales from existing customers – so customer retention becomes ever more important. There’s a virtuous circle… Read more »

What I learnt from 21 hours of interviews with UK Documentation Managers

After conducting 21 hours of interviews with Documentation Managers and writing a 7,000 word report on the findings, two factors stand out: 1. The importance of usability testing documents.2. The importance of measurement. As the saying goes, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. UPDATE: The report is now available for purchase via the Cherryleaf… Read more »

Who says documentation doesn’t matter?

From Ars Technica Judge: Microsoft documentation unfit for US consumption By John Timmer | Published: September 25, 2008 – 07:50PM CT Microsoft may have made a big push to settle many of the antitrust actions facing it around the globe, but those efforts have run up against a major stumbling block: the company’s inability to… Read more »

Poor documentation helps land Microsoft with a $1.35bn fine

Arjuna Krishna Das posted a link to an Information Week article on Microsoft’s fine from the European Union. “Specifically, the EC ruled that Microsoft was overcharging rivals for the documentation they need to make their server products interoperable with Windows-based PCs and servers. The decision was upheld last year by Europe’s second highest court…. Read more »