Spectrum Spotlight: Workplace Skills track

The Workplace Skills track focuses on issues that affect your day-to-day work, and provides ideas to help you work more productively.

Workplace Skills
Treating Content as a Business Asset
Pamela Kostur
Businesses create vast amounts of content to support their products, services, and business processes. Content is the face that businesses present to their markets, and to all those they do business with, internally and externally. Content reflects on your business and should be considered a valuable asset.

Unless you leverage your company's investment in the content you produce, technical communication will remain a cost center. This presentation examines content in a new light.

Attendees will learn:

• Why content is a business asset and why this is important

• Techniques for positioning technical communication as a revenue center, including:

1. Planning a strategy for your content and the processes required to produce and manage it

2. Relinquishing ownership of your content

3. Reusing content

4. Calculating the cost to create content

5. Reducing the cost to create content while increasing its value
Pamela Kostur is a partner in Parallax Communications in Toronto, ON, Canada. Pamela's expertise is in aligning content with users' needs and business requirements. She focuses on content reuse, content management strategies, usability, structured writing, and content development. Her goal is always consistently structured content for optimum usability and optimum value to the organization.

Pamela has been writing professionally for over 20 years and has authored several articles, taught workshops, and presented on topics such as miscommunication, usability, content management, information architecture, writing for reuse, and structured writing.

Pamela also co-authored Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy (New Riders, 2002).
Workplace Skills
Grassroots Documentation Testing
Kristi Leach
We will practice writing scenarios to test user assistance on co-workers, followed by a brainstorming session to share success stories and discuss solutions for the most critical challenges to do-it-yourself documentation testing.

Kristi Leach adapted Steve Krug’s do-it-yourself website-testing method (described in Don't Make Me Think) to test documentation at her job as a technical writer. She tested on co-workers. It was an important variable.
The resulting benefits were unexpected, and the challenges were not the same ones covered in Krug's book. This workshop provides a forum to supplement the expert resources with grassroots collaboration. As a group, we will work through an exercise to demonstrate some of the challenges, then discuss solutions for the most severe issues; a debriefing à la Krug!
Kristi Leach is a contract technical communicator in Chicago with experience documenting complex software and conducting grassroots customer research. She served as Vice President and President of the Suncoast Chapter when she lived in Florida. Kristi blogs about her professional epiphanies at WhyTechComm.com.
Workplace Skills
Optimizing Translation Reuse in Unstructured and Structured Environments
Lisa Pietrangeli and Bryan Lynn
This session will present two individual case studies. One will address translation management strategies in a structured authoring environment, the other in an unstructured authoring environment. The combined stories of the two speakers bring together translation and technology.

We'll answer the questions: How does technology affect translation and vice versa? What technical options are available for writing teams working in these two unique environments? What's the best way to maximize translation reuse? How do I help make sure that my company's brand and message are consistent worldwide? How do I determine ROI and present the idea to my company?

We will examine the challenges that our clients faced, solutions that were considered, decisions that were made, tested, and altered, the final solution and the results. The examples will be relevant to all who would like to find ways to reduce translation costs and turnaround time while improving quality and consistency.
As Director, Global Client Solutions at Language Intelligence, Lisa Pietrangeliworks with clients to develop internationalization strategies for all stages of the content development process, including authoring, terminology management, XML implementation, translation and output finalization.

Bryan Lynn is co-founder and lead technologist with ThirtySix Software, a software solutions provider that specializes in delivering content management solutions on the Microsoft platform. ThirtySix Software, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, helps organizations to more efficiently manage their content by maximizing their existing investment in Microsoft technologies.
Workplace Skills
A Virtual Success: Best Practices for Working Remotely
Barrie Byron and Ann Grove
Many of us work from home, at least some of the time. However, as remote workers, we face unfamiliar challenges for which we are not prepared. Learn about the tools, the strategies, and the best practices to stay productive, enhance your career, and earn trust to succeed as a virtual worker. Thanks to technology and globalization, more business teams are working together across time zones and international borders.
After you attend this session, you will be able to:

• Assess the skill sets that you need to succeed as a remote worker

• Adapt your technical communication skills to earn high visibility, even when you are not present

• Build trust with your colleagues

• Create and protect a dedicated work area
Barrie Byron is a technical writer with more than 25 years of professional experience, with a long history of STC membership and is an STC Associate Fellow, a frequent presenter at STC meetings including the Summit, and an experienced public speaker. Barrie is currently the Philadelphia Metro Chapter competition manager, and is Past President of Princeton Toastmasters.

Barrie is passionate about learning and sharing knowledge. With more than four years as a remote worker, Barrie has a track record of developing technically information that is accurate and on time. She has earned the privilege of remotely working in home offices in New Jersey and south Florida.

Ann Grove is a 12-year work-at-home professional, and the president of and lead consultant for a technical communications company, Logical Writing Solutions, Inc. She is a senior member of STC who is currently serving on the Globalization Audit Committee, having filled various leadership positions at the chapter level for the last 10 years. Her favorite presentation topics are successful consulting and the strategic use of social media.