Planning the big move

I’ve waffled on about single source and our plans for long enough so, as we are finally starting the process itself, I thought I’d capture some information as we go along. However, it’s probably good to set the scene, so I’ll cover that stuff first. Over time you’ll be able to see all the posts related to this work here.

With a most recent product release almost out of the door, our thoughts turn to the next few months and, finally, beginning to move our content to Author-it. During our weekly team meetings, and across several shorter planning meetings in the past months, we’ve covered most of what we think we need to have covered.

However, to be sure we’ve decided to have an entire day, locked away in a room, to go over the basics and properly plan the content migration. We have a provisional agenda but it’ll be a fairly open session for most of the time, as long as we can drive out actions I’ll be happy. I’ll be shifting my PC into a meeting room and running it on a large screen so we can actually try things out whilst we are there.

So far the agenda looks something like this:

  • recap the basics – what is reuse, what topic types do we have
  • EXERCISE – take a sample chapter and walk thru the import method
  • where will the imported topics live? (we have a structure, is it right?)
  • how do we handle maintenance of different versions of the guides?
  • EXERCISE – working practice – RID needs changed from 2.7 through to latest – how do we do that?
  • output templates – what do we need?
  • working with graphics – agree best practice
  • what import templates need to be created
  • who will import what?

The two exercises are there to help us troubleshoot any potential issues that may arise in everyday usage. We’ve already had discussions around topic types, the structure of the content within Author-it and I think we’ve covered everything but the main underlying aim of this day will be to flush out anything we’ve missed, or highlight any minor niggles that we aren’t aware of yet. Hopefully we can answer all of our questions (or at least understand the questions properly) and move forward from there.

Of course the REALLY big question is whether I bring in doughnuts or chocolate biscuits for the day…

3 comments

  1. When we reorganized the folder structure to reduce complexities such as broken links and inconsistent information across thousands of files, we had similar planning sessions and it helped us to identify the miss-outs! I can imagine how it feels to walk through the entire process.

  2. I’m not sure I’m understanding the post properly, but I like the idea (which might be yours or it might be me reading into it) that a chapter plan is really an “agenda” where you set out how you intend to use your reader’s time.

    I’ll certainly be stealing this concept…

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