The LavaCon Content Strategy Conference | 27–30 October 2024 | Portland, OR
Mark Kleinsmith

Mark Kleinsmith has over 25 years of Technical Communications experience in the software industry. He has installed and supported software applications, written traditional help systems, training manuals, and created online video help libraries. Mark has also presented software training classes to live and virtual audiences. Mark is the Director of Technical Communications for MiTek, Inc. and oversees a global team of technical communicators responsible for creating and deploying content used by over 5,000 software customers. MiTek primarily uses targeted help and training videos to educate its customer base and, since 2013, MiTek’s customers have accessed their software help through various online Content Management Systems.

SME Relationships Drive Phenomenal Content

Where does phenomenal content begin? At MiTek, it’s born from outstanding Subject Matter Expert relationships. SMEs understand the concepts that technical communicators explain to internal and external customers. Building solid relationships with these critical players assists technical communicators in completing projects promptly.

At MiTek, software development follows the Agile model. Product Managers demonstrate new features to stakeholders at the end of sprints. However, these sessions alone do not meet our Technical Communications requirements. Frequently, extensive configuration is required for a software feature to work, and the sprint demo focuses on the result, not how to arrive at that point. The Technical Communications team needs to “understand the why.” Often, the sprint demo presents a developed feature without asking the questions, “Why was this developed,” or “Who uses this feature?”

In this session, attendees will learn:

  • How can strong SME relationships benefit your Technical Communications team?
  • Tips for building strong SME relationships.
  • “Sell” the idea of scheduling one-on-one Technical Communication Team Member meetings with SMEs.
  • How to make the most of your Technical Communications SME meetings.