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Project Management

What’s In a Solid Training & Development Team?

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What if you were a project manager, an HR manager, or were otherwise tasked with putting together a training and development team? What skills would you want to make sure were available to help make the team a success? How would your answer differ if the training were to be conducted online versus in a classroom?

Cheryl Powell, an experienced Instructional Design & eLearning Specialist, recently looked at the make up of such teams and the roles that each of the players would be expected to carry out, in her piece, Creating a Successful Training and Development Team

Powell likens the process of building a successful team to that of cooking a favorite recipe. The wrong ingredients or improper quanities are going to ruin the dish.

Read the article and then leave a comment here. What are your thoughts on the necessary ingredients and “recipe” for a successful training team?

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Keeping Your Head When a Project’s Wheels Fall Off

17th July 2014 Posted in Blog, Planning, Project Management 0 Comments

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A recent collaborative article on TC World from technical writer Martin Brüggemann and project manager Diana Rehberg offers some really good advice for effective project management. Specifically, it talks about what to do when things throw a wrench into your previously smooth-running project. Additionally, it provides some advice on how to avoid such problems in the first place.

In part, the piece discusses:

  • Questions to ask before pulling together the project plan
  • Allowing for tolerances within the plan
  • Recognizing problems
  • The kind of feedback you should look for during the project
  • What to do when your project is wavering

One of the best pieces of advice in the article talks about something we all know but all too often forget:

“Hardly any project runs completely without problems. Right from the beginning be prepared that there will be problems and difficulties and then you are not caught off-guard.”

Related topic:
Using Metrics to Plan Documentation Projects

Care to share some of your project nightmares or successes? What did you do and what did you learn when planning subsequent projects? Please leave a comment, we’d love to hear from you!

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An Excel Template for Planning Documentation Projects

15th January 2014 Posted in Blog, Documentation, Planning, Project Management 0 Comments

MS Excel Template for Planning Documentation Projects

Planning for and estimating the resources needed to complete a documentation project can be a daunting task at times for documentation managers and specialists as well as independent consultants. What if a tool was available that could:

  • Help you prepare more accurate project estimates.
  • Provide a clear and specific explanation when things take longer than they “should have.”
  • Give you a way to justify new resources, budget for contractors, or to just say “no.”
  • Assist in making strategic decisions.

Now, what if that tool was a template for MS Excel? Would you try it out and take it for a test run?

Margie Yundt and Sherry McMenemy have created a template that can help you better plan documentation projects. They explain the process and the thinking beyond the tool they’ve created in their article, It’s in the Numbers: Using Metrics to Plan Documentation Projects. There’s also a link in the article for you to download the Excel template.

We encourage you to read the article and take the template for a spin. Then leave a comment here with your thoughts on this template or additional tools you’ve found useful for estimating documentation projects.

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Collaboration 101: How Old School Processes Prohibit Us From Working as a Team

Editor’s Note: This was the feature article in this month’s TechCom Manager newsletter, reprinted here with permission. Click the previous link to subscribe to the newsletter.

Scott Abel

No matter where you look these days, some vendors are touting how their new software products can help technical documentation departments magically “collaborate” their way to tremendous savings. You may be considering a purchase of one of these collaborative authoring tools. If you are, be forewarned that your return on investment may not be as spectacular as anticipated.

It’s not that there aren’t tremendous savings to gain by working in a collaborative manner. There are software products that can help your documentation group work more efficiently, making it possible for you to save significant time and resources. The real problem is closer to home. And it actually has nothing at all to do with software.

The real problem is that most technical documentation groups do not work as a team. Just because you co-locate a group of people in one big room, or somehow join them together under a common departmental umbrella, does not make them a team. Not even close.


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It’s In the Numbers: Using Metrics to Plan Documentation Projects

by Margie Yundt and Sherry McMenemy

It’s in the numbers. Creating documentation is not an exact science, yet as communication leaders, we are expected to provide real estimates for how much time we need to document a project, or what we can produce given a predetermined timeline.

Using a simple Planning Tool, you can improve the accountability of your team and accurately plan documentation projects to gain:

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