As the new president of Comtech Services, Dawn Stevens has practical experience in virtually every role within a documentation and training department, including project management, instructional design, writing, editing, and multimedia programming. She presented “Maturing Process Maturity” at The LavaCon Conference in Dublin in May, and she will be joining us in Portland in November.
We’re excited that you are joining us for The LavaCon Conference this year! Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am one of the few people who entered the world of technical communication on purpose. I loved my English and journalism classes in high school, as well as my math and sciences classes. My high school counselor told me about technical communication as a way to combine these interests, and I have never looked back in 27 years.
You’re talking about Maturing Process Maturity. Can you give us a sneak preview of your talk (without giving too much away)?
Just like the technologies that we as technical communicators use have changed over the last decades, so have the processes we follow to create that content. The most successful companies in adapting new content strategies and technologies have learned to adapt their processes as well. In this session, we’ll look at how process maturity is defined today. What are the best practices for successful organizations in such areas as information design, quality assurance, user analysis, planning, budgeting, and hiring and training? Too often, we get hung up on the technologies without thinking about how changing technologies also means changing processes.
What do you think are some of the challenges and opportunities facing content professionals today?
I think a big challenge is the disconnect between professional technical communicators and their audience. I’m not just talking about not having access to the audience, although that continues to be a challenge for some, but I’ve been observing a lot of challenges due to the aging population of content professionals versus the incoming young audiences they are writing for. What we’ve done forever doesn’t work anymore.
And of course, there is the age-old challenge of needing to do more with less, which continues to drive us toward new and better content strategies, new technologies, new processes, and so on.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
As a consultant, I am exposed to so many different industries and so many different challenges and solutions. I enjoy seeing the similarities and the differences in each organization. I enjoy the problem-solving aspect of my work—figuring out the best approach to reach the specific audience and meet their needs.
Is there any project you are working on now that you are particularly proud of or passionate about?
Right now, I’m just proud to have been trusted to take over a well-known business and service organization. I am passionate about helping our industry in whatever way I can through my organization and my own involvement in various committees.
Thank you, Dawn, for taking the time to talk with us!
Want to learn more about content and process maturity? Register for The LavaCon Conference in Portland in November!