Tag: <span>Maturity Model</span>

I mentioned this in passing last week but having had a little time to delve into the model in a little more depth I thought it was worth re-visiting.

The DITA Maturity Model as an organic model that is still being developed. Rather smartly it’s presented in Wiki format allowing anyone who is interested to comment and debate any and all of the content.

The model itself follows a familiar pattern with six levels of maturity against which you can map where you and your organisation sit. However the DITA Maturity Model starts with the presumption that you are already committed to topic-based writing, and I think that’s a gap that needs to be addressed.

For me, the model allows me to explain to my boss (and his boss) why investing in DITA as a document schema is worthwhile but it misses the gap of why we should change what we are doing at all. Once you have made the leap, the maturity model is all well and good but MAKING the leap in the first place, well that can be considerably harder.

Of course I’m not the only person who realises this, and in steps the DITA Wiki which has an entire section on building the business case for DITA.

The DITA Wiki is interesting. Not only is it chock full of useful information but ALL the major players in the single source/content reuse arena contribute to the content and discussions. Again it’s telling that it grew up alongside the growth of DITA usage.

Anyway, the DITA Maturity Model is definitely worth a look if you are considering heading down the DITA road. If nothing else it will give you a better understanding of the road ahead, some of the pitfalls you will encounter and the benefits you will gain.

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One of the reasons DITA has gained so much traction in such a short space of time is that the people behind it are taking advantage of the internet to publicise and drive it forward. With that in mind it’s great to see them open the new DITA Maturity Model out to the community:

This community is designed to bring the DITA Maturity Model to life, applying the “Wisdom of the Crowds” to the evolution and refinement of this approach to DITA adoption. The premise is that none of us is as good as all of us. The DITA MMC is an evolving resource that will grow and change over time with your active participation and contributions.

Definitely a good usage of the social media tools available at the moment.

One thing that struck me, taken from the Content Wrangler coverage, is a simple reason as to why more people are considering a move towards DITA-based content:

Enterprises looking to fast track their content strategy and minimize the risks of a big-bang initiative are choosing DITA–one of the most popular information models to suit today’s content–rich, multi-channel environment.

For some reason I hadn’t quite figured that out, but if you are putting together a business case built around DITA then it’s worth investigating this in more depth. That said, this is definitely one of those “so obvious I hadn’t considered it” moments!

The maturity model also highlights one of the reasons that DITA is proving popular even if it isn’t the best standard to be using for every circumstance. Quite simply, it’s because it’s young, new and (this is the important bit) is being developed in plain view of everyone on the internet. Admittedly I’ve not gone looking for DocBook or SD1000 resources but as they are already fairly mature they seem to be struggling to keep up with the pace of development around DITA. If DITA is the cool kid on the block, DocBook is definitely the wise old sage, stooped on the corner.

Social media on the internet thrives on participation and with DITA still growing up everyone has a chance to get involved and influence things, and that helps generate buy-in, which drives more improvements, which increases community buy-in… and so on.

So, even if you aren’t interested in DITA but are interested in how social media (online communities, web 2.0, whatever you want to call it) might help you and your company, it might be worth while checking out the maturity model and see if the same … erm… model.. can be applied to what you do.

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