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Information Development: Managing Your Documentation Projects, Portfolio, and People

Book Description

A revolutionary new resource that brings documentation product management ideas up to date

The 1994 bestselling classic Managing Your Documentation Projects set the industry standard for technical documentation. However, since then, much has changed in the world of information development. With this new title, JoAnn Hackos looks beyond the structured project of the 1980s and 1990s. Instead, she focuses on the rapidly changing projects of the 21st century and addresses how to introduce agile information development without neglecting the central focus of planning information design and development around the needs of information users.

As an information-development manager, you are expected to reduce costs and project time, do more work with fewer resources and less money, and increase the value of the information you deliver. Recognizing this, Hackos has carefully designed this book to help you do precisely that. She helps you make strategic decisions about information development and directs the discussion of project management toward smarter decision-making.

An update of the original 1994 Information Process Maturity Model (IPMM) presents you with a method by which you can compare the state of your organization to others, evaluate your current status, and then consider what is necessary in order to move to the next level.

Information Development offers a completely new look at best practices for all phases of the document development lifecycle, including:

  • Managing a corporate information portfolio

  • Evaluating process maturity

  • Partnering with customers and developing user scenarios

  • Developing team effectiveness and collaboration

  • Planning and monitoring information projects

  • Managing translation and production

  • Evaluating project performance

  • Managing for quality, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness

The companion Web site includes electronic versions of the templates and checklists featured in the book.

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Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. About the Author
  3. Credits
  4. Preface
    1. Innovation in project management
    2. Innovation in information development
    3. Innovation in technology
    4. Innovation in staffing
    5. Innovation in portfolio management
    6. Reading this book
  5. Acknowledgments
  6. 1. The Framework
    1. 1. An Introduction to Information-Development Management
      1. Best Practices in Information-Development Management
        1. Best Practice—Understanding your many roles as an information-development manager
          1. Develop as a middle manager
          2. Operate as a professional
          3. Handle the balancing act
          4. Develop a Balanced Scorecard
        2. Best Practice—Recognizing the need to build a mature organization
          1. Determine your current process-maturity level
        3. Best Practice—Developing an information-management strategy
          1. Align with corporate objectives
          2. One solution does not fit all projects
        4. Best Practice—Ensuring that your projects are managed efficiently and effectively
          1. Take ownership of your projects
          2. Put strong project management practices in place
          3. Prioritize levels of management by project type
          4. Make time for innovation
          5. Monitor project management successes and failures
      2. Summary
    2. 2. The Information Process Maturity Model
      1. The Information Process Maturity Model
        1. What is the IPMM?
        2. How did it get started?
        3. An IPMM assessment
        4. What are the five levels?
      2. Maturity Levels of the IPMM
        1. Level 0: Oblivious
        2. Level 1: Ad hoc
          1. Individual initiative in Level 1 organizations
          2. Centralizing production
        3. Level 2: Rudimentary
          1. Preparing a Level 2 organization for content management
          2. Making content-management decisions
          3. Centralizing production
          4. Timing the effort
        4. Level 3: Organized and repeatable
          1. Starting small
        5. Level 4: Managed and sustainable
          1. Innovation in design
        6. Level 5: Optimizing
          1. Defining an optimizing organization
          2. Characteristics of a Level 5 organization
          3. A Level 5 technology solution
      3. Changes to the IPMM
        1. Mergers and acquisitions
        2. Offshore information development
        3. Demands for increased productivity and reductions in force
      4. Key Characteristics of the IPMM
        1. Best Practice—Organizational structure
        2. Best Practice—Information planning
          1. Topic-based architectures facilitate early planning
        3. Best Practice—Estimating and scheduling
          1. Estimating future project resources
          2. Requesting new resources
          3. Funding an innovation
          4. Performing a value analysis
        4. Best Practice—Quality assurance
          1. Content reviews
          2. Testing information against the product
          3. Editorial reviews
        5. Best Practice—Hiring and training
          1. Hiring a jack-of-all-trades
          2. Hiring for specialization
          3. Hiring for collaboration
          4. Hiring in a new global environment
        6. Best Practice—Information design
          1. What is information design?
          2. How does information design happen?
          3. Excellent information design requires customer research
          4. Excellent information design requires exposure to design innovations in the community
          5. Measuring the success of an innovative design idea
          6. Introducing innovation to your team
        7. Best Practice—Cost control
        8. Best Practice—Quality management
          1. Beyond quality assurance and information design
          2. What is the essence of quality management?
          3. Customer studies
          4. Managing for quality includes knowing about the competition
          5. Managing for quality includes responding to customers directly
          6. Partnering with customer support
          7. Promoting quality in your larger organization
      5. New Characteristics of the IPMM
        1. Collaboration
        2. Change management
      6. Summary
  7. 2. Portfolio Management
    1. 3. Introduction to Portfolio Management
      1. Why Portfolio Management Is Critical
        1. Benefits of portfolio management
        2. Barriers to portfolio management
      2. Best Practices in Managing Your Strategic Portfolio
        1. Best Practice—Creating and managing your project portfolio
          1. Conducting a project inventory
          2. Identifying the projects that are truly strategic
          3. Categorize the projects and set priorities
          4. Managing your portfolio
        2. Best Practice—The Balanced Scorecard: Translating strategy into action
          1. The four perspectives of the Balanced Scorecard
          2. Why use a Balanced Scorecard approach?
          3. Financial perspectives
          4. Customer perspective
          5. Internal business process perspective
          6. Learning and growth perspective
          7. Outcome measures are not enough
          8. Example of a Balanced Scorecard
      3. Summary
    2. 4. Managing an Information-Development Budget
      1. Best Practices in Budget Management
        1. Best Practice—Understanding your operating costs
          1. Comparing your costs with other parts of the organization
          2. Estimating project costs
          3. Benchmarking project costs
        2. Best Practice—Managing your operating budget
          1. Considering the “no budget” organization
          2. Budgeting by headcount
          3. Budgeting by projects
          4. Budgeting by department
          5. Department budgets by taxation
          6. Using budgets to encourage prioritization
      2. Summary
    3. 5. Understanding the Technology Adoption Life Cycle
      1. Best Practices in Managing the Information–Development Life Cycle
        1. Best Practice—Positioning information development to match the needs of the technology adoption life cycle
          1. Innovators and early adopters
          2. Early and late majority
          3. The role of information in developing the whole product
          4. Analyzing the products in the technology adoption life cycle
        2. Best Practice—Funding information development for the majority market
      2. Summary
    4. 6. Developing Relationships with Customers and Stakeholders
      1. Best Practices in Customer and Stakeholder Relationships
        1. Best Practice—Analyzing customer information requirements
        2. Best Practice—Establishing a customer partnership
          1. How to implement customer partnering
          2. Selecting customer partners
          3. Planning the format and focus of each working session
          4. Providing homework for group participants
          5. Facilitating the working sessions
          6. Duration of the study
          7. Recognizing customer participation
          8. Developing product prototypes
          9. Reporting the results and recommendations of the working sessions
          10. Benefits of customer partnering to you and your customers
        3. Best Practice—Analyzing internal stakeholders
        4. Best Practice—Establishing stakeholder partnerships
          1. Defining measurable business goals and objectives
          2. Defining resources and responsibilities
          3. Developing a program of activities for each partner
          4. Resolving conflicts
      2. Summary
    5. 7. Developing User Scenarios
      1. Best Practices in Developing User Scenarios
        1. Best Practice—Cataloging user roles and their information needs
          1. Survey your customers for your catalog of roles
          2. Review sample user-role analyses
          3. Study the information needs of each role
          4. Conduct a professional user and task analysis
        2. Best Practice—Understanding the users’ information agendas
          1. Typical user scenario at Federal Express
        3. Best Practice—Using user scenarios to develop your Information Model
          1. Understand the context of information use
          2. Develop user scenarios to create a new information architecture
            1. Insurance company office workers
            2. Healthcare and administrative workers at blood-collection sites
            3. Telephone support personnel
            4. Software programmers using debugging software
            5. Consumer users of inkjet printers
          3. Develop patterns to define a set of deliverables
          4. Extend the design patterns to define your standard set of information types
            1. Policy writing guidelines
          5. Develop user scenarios to define content for specific projects
        4. Best Practice—Communicating user profiles and scenarios to team members
      2. Summary
    6. 8. Optimizing Your Organization’s Efficiency and Effectiveness
      1. Best Practices in Optimizing Efficiency and Effectiveness
        1. Best Practice—Defining your goals for efficient and effective performance
        2. Best Practice—Analyzing your processes with respect to your goals
        3. Best Practice—Investigating industry best practices (IPMM)
        4. Best Practice—Developing methods for measuring efficiency and effectiveness
        5. Best Practice—Improving processes and measuring results
        6. Best Practice—Techniques for measuring effectiveness
      2. Summary
    7. 9. Supporting Process Improvements with Effective Tools
      1. Best Practices in Implementing Effective Tools for Process Improvement
        1. Best Practice—Developing a tools strategy
          1. Developing a business case to acquire new tools
        2. Best Practice—Developing requirements for tools
        3. Best Practice—Researching and selecting vendors and tools
          1. Evaluating alternatives
          2. Making a final selection
          3. Arranging for a proof of concept
        4. Best Practice—Introducing and managing tools
          1. Establishing a pilot project
          2. Managing tools for the long term
        5. Best Practice—Developing a tools strategy for a global organization
      2. Summary
    8. 10. Developing Effective Teams
      1. Best Practices in Developing Effective Teams
        1. Best Practice—Developing collaborative teams
          1. Developing a team environment
        2. Best Practice—Defining new roles and responsibilities
          1. Building on strengths
          2. Adding new members to the team
          3. Creating specializations
          4. Accounting for domain expertise
        3. Best Practice–Managing the managers
          1. Team work makes managers more effective
          2. Barriers to team performance
        4. Best Practice—Working with remote team members
          1. Helping remote team members succeed
          2. Managing telecommuters and lone writers
        5. Best Practice—Working with global teams
          1. Beginning with a mature process
          2. Having an adequate budget
          3. Developing an implementation plan
        6. Best Practice–Outsourcing and offshoring
          1. Select potential outsource vendors on the basis of the quality they can provide
          2. Avoiding the low-priced vendor
      2. Summary
    9. 11. Managing Your Team Resources
      1. Managing Information Developers
      2. Best Practices in Managing People Resources
        1. Best Practice—Developing a hiring strategy
          1. Changing the personality mix of your team
          2. Hiring new graduates and entry-level employees
          3. Testing for basic skills
          4. Involving team members in the hiring decisions
        2. Best Practice—Investing in professional development
          1. Funding professional development
          2. Encouraging participation
        3. Best Practice—Developing individual strengths
          1. Motivating through strengths
        4. Best Practice—Managing by objectives
          1. Developing objectives
          2. Defining the competencies needed in your organization
          3. Developing criteria for ranking competency levels
          4. Encouraging peak performance
        5. Best Practice—Delivering difficult messages
          1. Dealing with organization turmoil
          2. Motivating your staff during turmoil
        6. Best Practice—Measuring productivity
          1. Measuring time on task
          2. Reclaiming Writing Time
      3. Summary
    10. 12. Developing as an Effective Leader
      1. Best Practices in Effective Leadership
        1. Best Practice—Developing your leadership style
          1. Coercive leadership
          2. Democratic leadership
          3. Affiliative leadership
          4. Pacesetting leadership
          5. Coaching leadership
          6. Authoritative leadership
        2. Best Practice—Shackleton on leadership
          1. Learning about management from an Antarctic explorer
          2. Hiring the best people
          3. Firing those who don’t fit
          4. Demonstrating concern for each team member’s well-being
          5. Developing staff member skills
          6. Focusing on teamwork
          7. Preventing cliques
          8. Eliminating negativism
          9. Committing to the leader
          10. Promoting optimism
          11. Moving leadership to a new age
          12. Ten leadership steps for information-development managers
      2. Summary
    11. 13. Promoting Innovation in Information Development
      1. Best Practices in Promoting Innovation in Information Development
        1. Best Practice—Overcoming obstacles to change
          1. Breaking through the cognitive hurdle
          2. Sidestepping the resource hurdle
          3. Jumping the motivational hurdle
          4. Knocking over the political hurdle
        2. Best Practice—Understanding disruptive innovations
          1. Principle #1: Companies depend on customers and investors for resources
          2. Principle #2: Small markets don’t solve the growth needs of large companies
          3. Principle #3: Markets that don’t exist can’t be analyzed
          4. Principle #4: Technology supply may not equal market demand
          5. Typical Innovator’s Dilemma scenario
          6. Four principles for success
        3. Best Practice—Focusing on customer-centered innovations
        4. Best Practice–Instituting operational innovations
          1. Inventing operational innovations in publications
          2. Examining the seven key dimensions of work
        5. Best Practice—Benchmarking with competitors and best-in-class colleagues
          1. Setting goals and recruiting partners
          2. Collecting information from the partners
          3. Analyzing the information and preparing a benchmark report
          4. Acting on the benchmark results
          5. Creating an Innovation Council
      2. Summary
  8. 3. Project Management
    1. 14. An Introduction to Project Management
      1. The Purpose of Information-Development Project Management
      2. The Information–Development Life Cycle
        1. Information Planning
        2. Information Design
        3. Information Development
        4. Production
        5. Evaluation
      3. Your Role as an Information-Development Project Manager
        1. Establishing your relationship with your team members
        2. Establishing your relationship with other project managers
        3. Characteristics of a successful project manager
      4. Summary
    2. 15. Starting Your Project
      1. Why you shouldn’t confuse writing the plan with real planning
      2. Why bother to plan?
      3. Why you can’t shortchange planning
      4. Best Practices in Project Planning
        1. Best Practice—Understanding the project starting point
          1. Early feasibility stage
          2. Early planning stage
          3. Late planning stage
          4. Impossible planning stage
        2. Best Practice—Characterizing the project environment
          1. Process maturity levels
          2. Common project characteristics
          3. Critical project differences
          4. The problem with managing traditionally
          5. The deadline dilemma
        3. Best Practice—Identifying project goals
        4. Best Practice—Analyzing project scope
        5. Best Practice—Identifying project stakeholders
          1. Internal stakeholders
          2. External stakeholders
        6. Best Practice—Developing a communication plan
        7. Best Practice—Understanding the project schedule
        8. Best Practice—Identifying the project risks
      5. Summary
    3. 16. Planning Your Information Development Project
      1. Best Practices in Developing Your Project Plan
        1. Best Practice—Envisioning the information-development project
          1. Describe the larger project
            1. State the larger project’s vision
          2. State the larger project’s goals
            1. Define the larger project’s scope
          3. Describe the customers for the product and your information
            1. Evaluate the usability requirements
          4. Develop your vision for the information-development project
        2. Best Practice—Defining the project details
          1. Project milestones
          2. Project deadlines
          3. Project schedule
            1. Schedule dependencies
          4. Project budget
            1. Budget dependencies
          5. Proposed information deliverables
          6. Scope estimates
          7. Level of effort
        3. Best Practice—Defining the roles and responsibilities of the team
          1. Team members
          2. Information resources
        4. Best Practice—Calculating project risks and dependencies
          1. Project assumptions
          2. Risk analysis
          3. Applying the Dependency Calculator
          4. Contingency planning
        5. Best Practice—Estimating the project resource requirements
          1. Estimating staff requirements
          2. Calculating project costs
          3. Deciding if you can make the deadline
          4. Preparing to adjust your estimates
      2. Summary
    4. 17. Implementing a Topic Architecture
      1. Best Practices in Implementing a Topic Architecture
        1. Best Practice—Developing content plans for each project deliverable
          1. Begin with user scenarios and use cases
          2. Develop an annotated task list
          3. Add conceptual and reference topics
          4. Add annotations to your topic list
        2. Best Practice—Mapping hierarchies and creating related-topic links
          1. Develop a relationship table
        3. Best Practice—Developing indexes and assigning metadata
          1. Plan and develop an index
          2. Plan and add metadata
      2. Summary
    5. 18. Keeping Your Project on Track
      1. The Role of the Project Manager during the Design and Development Phases of the Project
      2. Best Practices in Project Tracking and Reporting
        1. Best Practice—Developing a resource-tracking spreadsheet
          1. Developing a complete plan with resources assigned to the entire schedule
          2. Developing an iterative plan
          3. Developing a holistic plan
        2. Best Practice—Moving from tracking deliverables to tracking topics
          1. Breaking deliverables down by topics
          2. Developing topic-based estimates using top-down metrics
          3. Evaluating topic complexity and risk
          4. Using multiple estimating techniques
          5. Estimating a new project based on revisions of existing content
          6. Adding external estimates for editing, graphics, production, and other activities done outside your organization
          7. Estimating a new project that includes using topics in more than one deliverable
        3. Best Practice—Ensuring adequate resources are assigned to your project
          1. Assigning overtime to the team
          2. Adding additional resources
          3. Adjusting the schedule
          4. Changing the scope
          5. Leveling your resources
        4. Best Practice—Developing topic milestones
          1. Assigning topics to milestones related to the product development feature schedule
          2. Developing tracking milestones (focusing on small increments of work)
          3. Defining measurable milestones
          4. Assessing progress
          5. Meeting with team members
          6. Developing a tracking system
          7. Using automated workflow systems to track progress
        5. Best Practice—Reporting progress
          1. Scheduling your reports
          2. Developing a project-reporting template
        6. Best Practice—Building your Project Management folder
      3. Summary
    6. 19. Managing as the Project Changes
      1. Best Practices in Managing Change
        1. Best Practice—Managing the team
          1. Resolving problems
          2. Handling difficult team members
          3. Developing a self-managed team
          4. Promoting quality goals
        2. Best Practice—Tracking change
          1. Anticipating change
          2. Evaluating the impact of change on the project
        3. Best Practice—Responding to change
          1. Re-estimating the project
          2. Preserving the project vision
          3. Extending the project schedule
          4. Adjusting the interim milestone dates
          5. Adding resources to the project
          6. Adjusting the project scope
          7. Negotiating project quality
          8. Revising the project spreadsheets
          9. Making new assignments
        4. Best Practice—Initiating change
          1. Identifying new customer information requirements
          2. Recognizing the quality debt trap
          3. Choosing to improve the information design
        5. Best Practice—Analyzing ongoing project risk
          1. Productivity challenges
          2. Technology challenges
          3. Staff changes
          4. Stakeholder requirements in conflict
        6. Best Practice—Communicating about project change
          1. Communicating with team members
          2. Communicating with stakeholders
          3. Communicating with senior management
          4. Adding to your Project Management folder
      2. Summary
    7. 20. Managing in a Collaborative Environment
      1. Best Practices in Managing Collaboration
        1. Making a business case for collaboration
          1. Advantages
          2. Disadvantages
        2. Best Practice—Creating a collaborative environment
          1. Developing a collaborative team
          2. Fostering collaboration among your team members
          3. Collaborating across geographical locations
          4. Collaborating across corporate cultures
          5. Collaborating across time zones
          6. Collaborating with team members working from home
          7. Collaborating across cultures
          8. Managing your cross-cultural project
          9. Collaborating with both regular and temporary employees
        3. Best Practice–Recognizing that collaborations may fail
      2. Summary
    8. 21. Managing Quality Assurance
      1. Best Practices in Assuring Quality
        1. Best Practice—Assuring quality throughout the information-development life cycle
          1. Reviewing the project plans and design documents
        2. Best Practice—Facilitating expert reviews
          1. Conducting individual reviews
          2. Conducting review meetings
          3. Using electronic review systems
          4. Overcoming problems with expert reviews
        3. Best Practice—Conducting structure reviews
          1. Scheduling structure reviews
        4. Best Practice—Establishing developmental editing
        5. Best Practice—Validating content accuracy
          1. Scheduling validation
        6. Best Practice—Obtaining customer feedback
          1. Using electronic feedback systems
          2. Conducting customer surveys
          3. Working with customer service
          4. Adding usability assessments
          5. Conducting user site visits
        7. Best Practice—Scheduling copyediting
          1. Controlled writing tools
      2. Summary
    9. 22. Managing Localization and Translation
      1. Best Practices in Localization and Translation
        1. Best Practice—Including localization and translation requirements in the project plan
          1. Including localization in your project plan
          2. Scheduling time for localization and translation
          3. Budgeting for localization and translation
        2. Best Practice—Supporting localization and translation with content management and workflow
          1. Developing a single-source strategy to reduce translation costs
          2. Creating a multiple language repository
          3. Establishing a translation memory
          4. Using content management to support pre-translation
          5. Integrating automated workflows with your localization service provider
          6. Automating publishing
        3. Best Practice—Preparing your content for localization and translation
          1. Developing global standards for your content
          2. Localizing the content ahead of time
          3. Using controlled language tools
          4. Preparing graphics for translation
          5. Localizing the product interface
        4. Best Practice—Selecting and working with a localization service provider
          1. Selecting a professional localization service provider
          2. Establishing a working relationship early in the life cycle
          3. Developing a multiple-language glossary of terms
          4. Recruiting internal reviewers and establishing an internal review process
          5. Providing product training for translators
          6. Managing translation memory
          7. Evaluating the localization project
      2. Summary
    10. 23. Managing Production and Delivery
      1. Best Practices for Managing Production
        1. Best Practice—Planning for production and delivery
          1. Knowing what you’re supposed to produce
          2. Scheduling backward
          3. Defining roles and responsibilities
          4. Scheduling indexing
          5. Including a legal review
        2. Best Practice—Preprocessing final deliverables
          1. Developing an automated process
          2. Running test content
          3. Ensuring that all files are available and correct
          4. Using content management to facilitate production
        3. Best Practice—Performing production edits
          1. Establishing a production-edit team
          2. Preparing a production checklist
        4. Best Practice—Handing off final deliverables
          1. Planning for handoffs
          2. Anticipating potential problems
          3. Handling final production and delivery inhouse
          4. Verifying the deliverables
        5. Best Practice—Working with vendors
          1. Selecting outside vendors
          2. Maintaining good working relationships
          3. Evaluating the delivery process
          4. Adding to your project management file
      2. Summary
    11. 24. Evaluating the Project
      1. Best Practices in Project Evaluation
        1. Best Practice—Reviewing project data
          1. Comparing estimates to actuals
          2. Evaluating project dependencies
          3. Preparing a project final report
          4. Add to your Project Management folder
        2. Best Practice—Conducting a “lessons learned” review
          1. Setting the agenda
          2. Logistics for your review meeting
          3. Inviting stakeholders to a review
          4. Taking action
        3. Best Practice—Evaluating the team
          1. Evaluating team effectiveness and efficiency
          2. Writing project performance reports
        4. Best Practice—Collecting customer feedback
          1. Surveying customers
          2. Tracking support calls
          3. Receiving customer feedback reports
          4. Consulting other stakeholders
      2. Summary
  9. Bibliography