Performing a technical audit for an IT project developed with European funds


Performing a technical audit for an IT project developed with European funds
Scenario: One of the biggest security companies in Romania contacted me and a colleague of mine to perform a technical audit for a complex software solution, a CRM consisting of several modules: Patriot ERP, ticketing module and dispatcher module. The company contracted an outsourcing company to develop the IT project. We’ve never done this before, we have no accredited certification and yet we have the knowledge to perform a technical audit for an IT project. Why? We are two technical geeks who really understand how software projects/products are implemented, able to verify the product implementation against initial specifications.

1. Create the offer

Once you receive the request for proposal which includes the technical project description and hardware purchased, create the offer taking into consideration to have a plan in place. What will you audit? How do you organize… Read more...

Building high quality documentation for real-time dispatching solutions


Just recently I had the chance to rewrite and improve documentation for a varied range of products from two-way radio solutions to complex integrations of radio systems, thus entering a fascinating industry, one which addresses various services such as:
  • Public safety – reliable radio dispatches allow public institutions protect our communities.
  • Transportation industry – using radio dispatch communication and supervision provides better communication, security and a real-time overview on resources in the transportation sector: railways, airports and ports.
  • Exploration of natural resources – radio communication is also crucial in fields like: oil and natural gas, forestry and mining.
  • Utilities – Even if it’s hard to believe, dispatching solutions are very effective in assisting organizations providing electricity, gas, water and telecom services to our community. How? Dispatchers can easily communicate with operations teams, supervisors and emergency teams in the field, minimizing the interruptions to critical public services.
Basically, the dispatching solutionsRead more...

Creating effective product labels


When we talk about technical communication in general we tend to refer to user documentation, online help, how-to use procedures and courses. But when we think to a software product the first technical communication type is the product labels, messages and indicators. Why? It is the first communication level with the users, giving minimal guidance on what and how to use the product. In general, product labels are created with user experience in mind, with a UX expert involved within the product design/development process. However, most companies do not have an UX expert, therefore developers are in charge of creating the product labels. As each role requires specific skills, developers are specialized in writing and rewriting code not product labels. Anyway, one solution to writing effective product labels is to involve technical writers and / or technical communicators to review the product labels created by developers. Why is this… Read more...

Winning Strategies for Technical Writers: 5 Key Steps for Success


End users tend to escape documentation when it comes to encountering issues with specific products. And there is a reason for this to happen; there are still many products which have useless end user documentation which does not offer clear flows; which lead to higher support costs for the companies. Why? A customer which cannot easily find solution to an issue will almost always pick up the phone and call the support department to get help.
The need to bridging the gap between end users and product documentation is vital across multiple industries. Learn how to overcome these challenges and successfully “deploy” valuable technical writing services.

Key Steps 1: Explore the product functionality

Learning the product helps you reduce the likelihood of making the common mistakes in documenting the flows. Always have in mind that hands-on experience with the product will make you the most valuable first user.
How do Read more...

Tracking the translation/localization of your documentation

Tracking the translation of your products’ documentation might give you headaches if not properly managed. Being in charge of managing the translation/localization of documentation in more than 12 languages for various products, I found out that the best way to ensure consistency between various product versions and languages is to organize documentation in products and product versions on the local file server also taking into consideration the file naming conventions.

Tracking the translation/localization of your documentation on the file server

  1. On the local file server, create a folder named Documentation.
  2. In the Documentation folder create folders for each product.
  3. Within each product file, create folders per product versions.
  4. Inside each product version folder create a folder per language.
  5. Within each language folder save the documents for the specific language taking into consideration the product and product version.

Tracking the translation/localization of your documentation using language filenames

Another important aspect for… Read more...

How to set the chm title in Help and Manual

This is a very short article I will use as a reminder to myself on how to set the chm title in Help and Manual projects.
  1. Go to your help project.
  2. Go to Configuration Help Windows.
  3. In the Title bar text field enter the title of your help project.
  4. Click File Publish and from the Publish Format drop-down list select HTML help (.chm) then click Publish.
This is how your project title will like:

How to sell your tech colleagues that they should help you write good whitepapers

I’ve been talking to a good friend of mine the other days, Ioana Serban, Marketing Director at Computaris. A highly dedicated and passionate professional always trying to get the best out of people and delivering high quality marketing services to the customers. One of the issues she confronts with lately is convincing their global sales team and the system/solution architects that they should get more involved in their content creation strategy.
Read below Ioana’s thoughts on how to sell your tech colleagues that they should help you write good whitepapers. We all know that marketing is so hard to sell! Especially to the top management but also to the colleagues from the other departments. And when you need their input to promote your thought leadership in a technical domain you get stuck if you don’t manage to convince them to put some enthusiasm into helping you implement your inbound… Read more...

How to choose a new localization vendor

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I admit to not having attended any terminology classes but I used to read a lot about terminology and products localization.
A few months ago, I have been given the great opportunity to test the market in terms of localization vendors. Scenario: a new product to be translated into several languages. The localization project involved two phases: UI localization and documentation translation into several languages.It was a great way to temporarily forget the usual tasks I dealt with and immerse myself in some market research. There are some steps to follow when choosing a new localization vendor. I will share with you some things I learnt on the fly.

1. Create a top-3 vendors list

In order to choose a new localization vendor, start writing down the top-3 localization vendors list… Be aware that evaluating more than 3 localization vendors might be time-consuming… Read more...

Business Unit Manager key responsibilities and required skills. To be or not to be?


In a previous article I was talking about restructuring a company in business units and I only provided a brief description of Business Unit Manager responsibilities.
You might have been given the opportunity to drive an innovative and strategic direction for a specific business unit and you wonder which key responsibilities you may have. Or you might be a recruiter in charge of defining job description for a Business Unit Manager position. This article gives a clear view on Business Unit Manager (often referred as BUM), responsibilities as well as the set of skills required for such a position. A BUM is in charge of achieving product line growth and profitability; owns the financial success of the business unit through establishment and achievement of current and long-range objectives, plans, and results.

Business Unit Manager Responsibilities

Key responsibilities for a Business Unit Manager are:
  • Determines and formulates operational and business strategies
Read more...

How to recreate the company in business units and address the missing ingredient to be successful


I’m always trying to get the whole business picture and striving to understand the reason for the lack of involvement within a company. In general, people tend to avoid responsibilities and point the finger to the one “next door” saying “it is not my business to do that” and so on. As a consequence, you start having issues with deliverables and long useless meetings; it seems like this is never going to end or the worst case scenario: you will not be living “happily ever after”  It is a fact that over the past 5 years many companies have adopted the Agile methodology without really understanding how it works or being inspired to adapt it to the internal functionality and the customers’ needs. There are many successful stories talking about working in business units which sustain the fact that recreating a company in business units might bring a new… Read more...