Avoid Shortcuts that can end up your Shortfall in an S1000D Program – Part 1: The Shortfall Blog Series

Would your manager buy a car without test driving it first? Probably not! So why do we expect our managers to invest in a software solution that they will not be using daily and which in turn, they don’t understand the benefits on why you want the technology?

In years gone by, author’s direct manager didn’t understand what the level of effort was, in order to complete a word processing task in our technical manuals. They would ask “what’s taking so long, this is only a one sentence change”. Ten or more years ago, manually changing one sentence created a domino effect in the pagination, list of effective pages, table of contents and change bars on every page that changed! The “domino effect” from a one sentence change, thank goodness is no longer a tedious manual task of having to prepare many pages, since new technology has automated the production of change pages/packages.

Does your manager know what your new challenges are when it comes to your S1000D deliverables? I am talking about not just knowing there is a problem, but understanding what that means to getting your delivery out on time, and at what costs those challenges might incur now and potentially continue into the future!

One reason may be because some managers do not personally know how to execute the task themselves. They first-hand do not and have not lived frustrated day-to-day with authoring obstacles, in order to produce an end product. Which can be a fair reason! If you don’t know how to execute it, then investing in a solution that provides automation and quality upfront doesn’t become a priority. Therefore naturally the budget is used elsewhere, that supports their comfort zone and personal knowledge.

Another reason may be that management doesn’t budget for “extras” upfront. The cost of implementing automation and quality is an upfront investment, but only seen through the lifecycle of the project and not with immediate gratification. Therefore, since authors have always manually supported these automated efforts, why pay now, they can pay when or if it’s needed from future budgets!

So, what does your management really know?

As authors, we need to bring these facts to management! They need to understand the logic behind the ‘why’ and until that logic is understood with factual data, simply put, the budget cannot be supportive.

How do you provide the facts you ask? Easily! First ask the manager to perform the job with all included obstacles for one day. Based on that day, provide those hours and the hours it took to perform similar tasks for a week. Then at the end of that week, highlight the specific hours it took to perform specific tasks that can be performed in seconds with an “extra S1000D features” in the solution.

If a calculator is accessible to them, those authors will have a new knowledgeable manager in their corner! Accomplishment of this first step should have a much more positive domino effect than manually changing one sentence.

For the next six weeks Team OneStrand are going to share their real-world examples of those extra S1000D features that you and your Managers need to know, to ensure you obtain the most benefits from your S1000D authoring and publishing environment.


Melissa Pennline
VP Global Sales & Marketing
OneStrand LLC


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