Browsing articles tagged with "technical writing outsourcing Archives | Saiff Solutions"

Technical Writing Outsourcing: Helping Your Business Toward Success

Feb 14, 2019   //   by Josh Gatus   //   Blog, Content Strategy, Outsourcing, Tips for Doc and Tech Comm Managers  //  No Comments

blue and gold text that reads: outsourcing technical writing: a forum on a banner. Beside the text are four interlinking puzzle pieces with different symbols on them in gold: icons of people and a fountain pen nib.

In-house, outsourced, onshore, nearshore, and offshore outsourcing offers countless possibilities. How can outsourcing help? Companies have resorted to outsourcing for both foreign and domestic contracts for decades. We’ve seen this practice extensively in quality assurance and programming functions.

Technical writing outsourcing comes with a lot of risks and benefits. Many technical writers think that once their company outsources, they must lay-off existing writers, which results in reduced morale of their respective teams. Outsourcing often catches the blame as a cause of disruption, dysfunction, and organizational failure. In many cases, these negative outcomes actually result from poor management, including poor planning and managing of outsourcing.

Outsourcing, if done properly, can help your business improve both in processes and content quality. A multicultural team can give you an advantage. If managed well, it improves global responsiveness, provides quicker response times, and increases your team’s cultural understanding of your customers. Technical writing outsourcing can expand capacity at lower cost, give you a larger team, and produce higher output.

Barry Saiff, founder and CEO of Saiff Solutions, created a roadmap to outsourcing success in his book Outsourcing Technical Writing: A Primer. In this roadmap, one of the sequences involves Choosing an outsourcing partner. You want a vendor who is capable of meeting your needs, with a broad commitment to excellence. So, how will you choose a trusted partner for your documentation?

Technical Writing Outsourcing: Factors to Consider

Here are some of the factors to consider:

  1. Be careful about the country you choose – Consider factors such as language, infrastructure, economic growth, stability, and cultural fit.
  2. Get to know your vendor – Are they knowledgeable, competent, and honest? What types of quality control practices or systems do they have in place?
  3. Learn about your vendor’s approach to management – Instead of sharing your own management philosophy (which amounts to asking leading questions), ask probing questions about their attitudes.
  4. Take IT and data security very seriously – For example, ensure that their employee and consultant contracts include confidentiality clauses.
  5. Understand the vendor’s ownership and organizational structure.
  6. Ask for references or find them on your own, and be very careful about contracts.
  7. Before embarking on a large, risky project, try out the vendor in a smaller, lower risk pilot project.

Do you want to know more about the Roadmap to Outsourcing Success? Learn more about technical writing outsourcing to give your team an extra boost!

Head on over to XML Press and grab a copy of Outsourcing Technical Writing: A Primer today. You can also purchase the book on Amazon.

Outsourcing Technical Documentation Projects: Documentation Managers Meetup

Oct 15, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   News  //  No Comments

Are you interested in overcoming the challenges of outsourcing? Contribute to the discussion and demystify technical communication outsourcing in a documentation managers meetup.

 

 

Join Barry Saiff, founder and CEO of Saiff Solutions, and Scott Abel, the Content Wrangler, on November 8 at 6 PM, for an insightful discussion about outsourcing content development. Take this opportunity to learn from your colleagues and find answers to your questions about the approach. Register here!

The History of Technical Writing [Infographic & Video]

Dec 13, 2016   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Content Strategy, Evaluating Technical Writers, Managing Technical Writers, Outsourcing  //  No Comments

Learn the key stages of transformation that the technical communications profession has gone through during the last five decades.

This five-minute video takes you through the history of technical writing, from the infancy of a new profession through a rebellious adolescence that led to a revolution in Unified Content Strategy and topic-based authoring during tech comm’s young adulthood.

 

Technical communications is now experiencing an identity-challenging paradigm shift in its midlife — in many cases moving from Engineering departments into Marketing, feeling greater pressure to outsource, and experiencing both challenges and opportunities from automation.

As you watch the video, you  can follow the tech comm profession’s exciting story with this infographic. Then, please ask us how you can help chart your organization’s technical writing transformation.

history-of-technical-writing

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Events: Virtual Summit on Advanced Practices in Technical Communication 2016

virtual-summit-on-advanced-practices-in-technical-communication

December 6-8, 2016

The Content Wrangler is sponsoring The Virtual Summit on Advanced Practices in Technical Communication, a free, three-day event designed especially for technical communication professionals. The event features 12 free one-hour sessions from some of the industry’s best and brightest talents — experts in agile outsourcing, XML authoring, content strategy, content management, translation and localization, intelligent content, plain language, customer experience, and more. Learn more.

tech-writing-outsourcing-in-agile

As part of The Virtual Summit, Saiff Solutions, yours truly, is sharing its knowledge on Managing Technical Writing Outsourcing in an Agile Environment on December 8, 2016 at 6pm EST. Register below, it’s free!

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Webinar: Content Wrangler Sponsored, Managing Technical Writing Outsourcing in an Agile Environment

Oct 26, 2016   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Content Strategy, How-To, Outsourcing, Webinars  //  No Comments

tech-writing-outsourcing-in-agile

December 8, 2016, 3:00 PM PST
Hosted by Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler
Presented by Barry Saiff, CEO of Saiff Solutions/Expert in Tech Writing Outsourcing and Fred Williams, CEO of Williams Technical/Agile Advocate

Value of Agile

Agile development offers advantages. Short cycles, cross-disciplinary teams, frequent short meetings, and input from users can lead to satisfied customers and faster product delivery. Technical writing outsourcing is often late to the game–with other teams already globally distributed. Even when technical writers are co-located with developers, process issues can pose obstacles. For example, without a mechanism for notifying writers of user interface changes, accuracy suffers.

Synopsis

Can technical writing outsourcing work in an Agile environment, even if writers are off-shore and developers are not? Join Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler, Barry Saiff, CEO of Saiff Solutions, and Fred Williams, CEO of Williams Technical, for this free one-hour webinar. Our presenters will discuss how innovative organizations are successfully merging technical writing outsourcing with Agile development.

What You’ll Learn

You’ll learn the key steps to success in technical writing outsourcing, how outsourced writers integrate into Agile teams, and how to manage these approaches to improve quality, save time, and reduce costs.

Reserve My Seat bunny

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Technical Communications Leaders

Oct 5, 2016   //   by Christian Cahapin   //   Blog, Evaluating Technical Writers, How-To, Managing Technical Writers  //  No Comments

7-habits-of-highly-effective-technical-communications-leaders-banner

You can be an effective leader, regardless of your position. These 7 habits go beyond the basics of developing good content, to answer this question:

As a technical communications leader, at any level, how do you influence the work environment, improve the processes, and educate the people to make continuous improvement possible?

1. Be a Customer Advocate

be-a-customer-advocateWhile you may have less product knowledge than an engineer, you can view the product from a user’s perspective. Share your input and advocate for product and process improvements. Support similar efforts initiated by others. Focus on quality.

2. Advocate for Process Improvementsadvocate-for-process-improvements

Process improvements can benefit everyone on the team, and improve product quality. Can the quality assurance team test the documentation? Can technical writers edit the user interface text and error messages? Can written documentation reviews become a factor in the performance evaluations of all product team members? Would documentation review meetings improve quality?

3. Care About All Customer-visible Content

If you’re only writing the customer documentation, there is a chance that no one with your skills is editing other user-visible content. Even if you cannot edit this content, you can educate others about key technical writing practices. For example – One concept, One term – each word should be used to mean only one thing. This avoids user confusion, and saves translation funds. Another key technical writing practice: short sentences.

4. Be an Effective Intrapreneurbe-an-effective-intrapreneur

Think about how to create change – look before you leap. Understand the who, what, and how of change. Who are the key stakeholders and decision-makers, and what motivates them? What do they care about? How can you best bring them on board? What are their backgrounds – cultural, professional, educational? Start with curiosity. Listen. Discuss. Ask questions.

5. Know Your Audience

know-your-audienceWhat do you know about the users – education levels, roles? How do they use the product and access the documentation? What percentage read the documentation in English? Collaborative efforts with other teams can aid your research. One way to learn more is to conduct a user survey. While gaining approval can be an uphill battle, the insights gained from a well-designed survey can make the effort worthwhile.

6. Promote Appropriate Technical Communications Methodologies Gentlypromote-appropriate-technical-communications-methodologies-gently

Not every organization needs to use the latest methodologies. What worked elsewhere may not work for your team. Bring others along with you – educate and involve engineers, quality assurance personnel, marketers, and product managers in assessing and exploring new methodologies. For example, some organizations can benefit from adopting topic-based authoring, without XML or DITA.

7. Keep Perspective, and De-stress

keep-perspective-and-destressMistakes provide tremendous opportunities for personal and organizational growth, including improved processes, communications, and skills. Accept these moments and make the most of them. Learn from successes and failures. Remember that what is truly irreplaceable is human life. Learn what you need, and what your coworkers need, to reduce and relieve stress.

Consistently practicing these 7 habits will support your development as an effective technical communications leader, continuous process improvement in your organization, harmonious work relationships, and improved content and product quality. Be the change you wish to see.

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Saiff Solutions In The Media

- TechWhirl
- Nominated for 2015 Rice Bowl Asean Start Up

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Testimonials

“Barry [Saiff] has extensive experience both as a manager of technical writers and as a writer. As a manager, he is fair, encourages innovation, and is open to divergent points of view. As a writer, he can grasp very complex concepts and explain those concepts to end user through administrator audiences. Additionally, he has expert knowledge of all components of the documentation process, including corporate style guides, editing, writing, working with localization, and production. Barry is very much a people person and wherever he goes, he cultivates a large network of friendly yet professional relationships. He’s worked successfully with both on-site subject matter experts as well as those across the world. During my time working with Barry, he’s run a number of successful efforts to improve the usability of documentation. In one such case, he recruited a cross-functional team to overhaul the documentation based on the recommendations of this user-facing group of subject matter experts.”

Steve Anderson
Principal Technical Writer, Symantec
December 16, 2010

Read more testimonials here.