Happy Healthy Technical Writers

As the worlds largest semiconductor company, Intel creates highly specialized documentation to enable the use of its technologies and intellectual property.   Documentation is often created by subject matter experts (SMEs) who hand off their content to the technical publication team to include in the next revision of the documentation.  The tech pub team was being overburdened with defining who should be including in the documentation creation and review phases of a document’s lifecycle and the tracking to see if all inputs had been received.  This overhead was estimated around 40% of tech writer time.

A system was developed that tracked and exposed all phases of the documentation creation lifecycle, from document seeding, collaborative editing, tech pub review, group & final inspection, to publishing the final content.  Notifications of SME tasks were automated as well as the tracking of completion so all could see what.  This system also protected the tech pubs teams from undeserved blame when SMEs were late or did not complete their tasks by the required deadline.  The tech writer overhead was reduced to less than 10% and job satisfaction increased because more time was spent doing technical writing and the blame for late work was not attributed to the technical writers.

What can the audience expect to learn?

The problems tech pub teams face are largely the same. The ideas this presentation will discuss of how Intel solved these problems could be applicable to any tech pub team and may inspire others to develop a similar approach of crisply defining documentation lifecycle phases, automating to reduce overhead, and protecting the tech writers for being blamed.

Meet the presenter

Kresten McGrath is the Documentation and Training Infrastructure Architect for Intel’s Intellectual Property Program Office in Chandler, Arizona.

Kresten has spent most of his 26 year career working as an automation expert, writing software to automate tasks and increase efficiencies.  Ten years ago, he began focusing his automation experience on the problems of documentation creation, management, and quality.  He is the architect and creator of the Galapagos system, a DITA-based collection of technologies and custom software, that increased the productivity of his technical publications team by a factor of two with only half the resources.
Kresten and his wife Mary Jane live in Gilbert, Arizona, and are the proud parents of 6 children, including 18 year old triplets.

⇐Return to Agenda