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Products and Processes: Transition from “Product Documentation to ... Integrated Technical Content”

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Purpose: To examine the attitudes and perspectives of individuals in successful companies who manage technical communicators with a specific focus on the products and processes that make up the bulk of their work.

Method: This study used a modified Delphi method. To gather data, we used two sets of survey questions and two structured interviews.

Results: This research helped to further explain the relationship between what technical communicators produce and how these products function in situating or framing their producers in relation to other subfields/related disciplines, such as UX design, information design, knowledge management, usability, and information architecture.

Conclusion: While there is general agreement among the managers that the role of the technical communicator has to expand, there is no one clear agreed-upon strategy. Some companies are obtaining success using Agile methodology, while others are finding that this methodology, while stressing adaptability, is not easy to introduce. Corporate cultures do not change overnight. Still, integrated teams, a key component of Agile, are taking hold in most cultures. Equally important, the shift away from writing documents to directing content is well underway. The key now, as it has been for decades, is for technical communicators to highlight their value and make their contributions more visible.
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Keywords: AGILE; CONTENT EXPERIENCE; CONTENT MANAGEMENT; DESIGN; HOW-TO VIDEOS; PROCESSES; PRODUCTIVITY; PRODUCTS; USER ADVOCATES

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2015

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  • Technical Communication, the Society's journal, publishes articles about the practical application of technical communication theory and serves as a common arena for discussion by practitioners. Technical Communication includes both quantitative and qualitative research while showcasing the work of some of the field's most noteworthy writers. Among its most popular features are the helpful book reviews. Technical Communication is published quarterly and is free with membership.
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