The LavaCon Content Strategy Conference | 27–30 October 2024 | Portland, OR
Carol Hattrup

Carol manages the TechComm team at Netsmart, which provides healthcare software for human services and post-acute care communities nationwide. She’s spent her software career moving between writing and QA, committed to the idea that the best writers naturally test and the best testers naturally write.
Carol is a published poet and essayist under a pseudonym, and holds an MFA from the University of Nebraska. She serves on the board of the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, and lives in the Kansas City metro area with seven other creatures – three canine, one reptile, and three human.

Dirty DITA Deeds Done Dirt Cheap:
A Case Against Structured Authoring and the Status Quo

Co-presenting with: Amy Etheridge

Faced with over one hundred products and only four technical writers (two of whom had no prior writing experience), no leadership appetite for a big spend on a new publishing platform & structured authoring solution, and a surly crowd of content contributors gathering in the night and grabbing pitchforks, we simply started over. We reevaluated our existing CXone Expert content platform and found that we had a people problem, not a platform problem. We reexamined the usefulness of DITA and found we could leverage the concepts and leave out the strict rules. We redid the math on typical tech writer + product alignment formulas and used a work queue instead. We reinvented the process through which contributors could get their content published. And then we redefined our own job titles and descriptions to match reality. We’ll share metrics from the beginning of our story to the present day to show how our radical changes improved the content experience for our customers and colleagues.

In this session attendees will learn:

Attendees will learn through our case study how to:

  • Save money by using one content platform for authoring and publishing
  • Produce solid content while leaving DITA in the dust
  •  Onboard new writers to content management
  • Increase the efficiency of a small team by using a queue system for TechComm work rather than sticking like glue to specific products
  • Ease reluctant humans through an epic change management adventure
  • Define content roles for the modern era