Leading by example in legacy projects

One of the typical ways for agreeing to have project documentation in place is this:

  1. Customer voices the need for documentation (on a side note, product-based software companies are not considered in this discussion).
  2. Documentation team provides the estimates.
  3. Estimates are adjusted and approved.

This works well for new projects and new features in existing projects. On a side note, this also assumes that the people who give the final approval for documentation do understand why documentation is needed.

But what about legacy projects, the ones that are poorly documented or not documented at all? How do you convince the company (or the customer) that documentation is needed?

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Operation Cleanup: CSS refactoring for InfoDevs

Hey, fellow writers who work in MadCap Flare! Have you ever opened your CSS style sheet in a text editor and checked if it contains conflicting entries, style duplicates, or empty style definitions? Maybe there are unnecessary repetitions of a property assigned to child elements, but this property is already assigned to a parent element? (I had this problem with fonts and colors).

Being unsure of what is going on with your CSS, you might be surprised to find that, for example, after you changed one property, half of your document inexplicably changed its color or indentation level. And there you are wasting time trying to apply a quick fix that most probably breaks something else. It is only then that you finally realize that the CSS refactoring time has come. Continue reading

3 inspiring WTD talks that you may regret to have missed

Write the Docs is one of the most prominent technical communication conferences that brings people of the documentation development field together, promotes sharing of ideas, as well as encourages professional development.

I cannot but share the gist of 3 talks that boosted my motivation and inspired me at this year’s conference in Prague. Continue reading

Everyone can make presentations. But how to make them extraordinary?

Nowadays, public speaking is a crucial skill, which can help you greatly in communicating your ideas to various audiences, be it your team members, customers, or a group of people interested in educational camp on Information Development. Whether you like public speaking or not, chances are you will need it, and when the time comes, it’s better to be prepared with a good neat presentation and the accompanying story than read text from slides, or, what’s worse, mumble words hoping to end it all fast as can be. If the last words strike a chord with you, then the book Show and Tell: How Everybody Can Make Extraordinary Presentations by Dan Roam may be just for you. Continue reading