SourceOne is passionate about producing effective product and service documentation using plain language and efficient task and workflow automation, with best practice documentation techniques and tools.
We have implemented and honed our content creation and control techniques since the late 1990's with experience in diverse organisations such as New Zealand central government agencies and Defence, various crown entities, New Zealand software companies and larger internationals, and community-driven organisations such as body corporates and charitable trusts including Māori-led organisations and marae.
We encourage the Treaty of Waitangi principles of partnership, participation and protection, and support the nurturing of te reo Māori and tailoring of content to diverse audience requirements.
What we do differently
Most organisations are unaware of modern single-source techniques for content creation and maintenance and instead rely on document-centric solutions such as Microsoft Office. This results in duplication and maintenance of content in multiple systems, poor content workflow, and little to no automation. As a result, organisations often find it difficult to keep their content up-to-date, cannot innovate and do not have flexibility to publish tailored content to different device types or diverse audiences.
Research by Gartner, the Aberdeen Group and others, have shown that organisations with documentation pressures perform better when they use plain language techniques and implement single-source, reusable topic-based documentation tools. Examples of research whitepapers are available upon request.
We have frequently seen organisations fail to use any task and workflow tools, or have leveraged them poorly. We identify blockers and recommend improvements to content-creation efficiencies, such as strongly urging the following:
Automating JIRA (or similar work management tools) to automatically create separate development sub-tasks assigned to relevant testing and documentation personnel.
Use of key performance indicators and internal service level agreements for those tasks to identify bottlenecks and performance issues and raise task priorities when they are ready to be worked on.
Templated content and required fields in task management tools to prompt task creators (at every level of the organisation) to provide adequate detail for developers, testers and documentation staff to work efficiently. There should be a clear and authoritative product or service user requirements (and acceptance criteria) that can be referred back to. Specifics communicated verbally are often misremembered, or lost forever due to staff turnover.
Linking issue management tools to source control so that code commits and comments are also automatically visible in the originating issue for easy reference by development, testing and documentation staff.
Making externally published content also automatically available internally in SharePoint and Confluence (or similar Wiki tools) to encourage review.
Making REST API code content "self documenting" in source code using tools such as Swagger annotations with content-writing assistance from documentation staff.
Implementing documentation best practices is what we do.
Our documentation infrastructures and processes are tailored to the organisation's requirements using single-source techniques.
We write authoritative content that is reused (not duplicated and requiring separate maintenance) for an organisation's many publishing outputs such as technical documentation, user guides, training and online help and content for partners.
We deliver content and changes more rapidly with fewer resources by removing stale and duplicated content and implementing automation to the publication processes.
Documentation is also designed to be highly robust in the face of traditional infrastructure outages.
Making content creators more agile is what we do.
By implementing plain language writing, using a company style guide, and a modern single-source documentation framework with automation as outlined previously, organisations can sustainably inform their customers clearly, concisely, and on time.
What we do nOt do
SourceOne staff are not marketing copywriters, graphic designers, end user trainers, video creators or dedicated testers.
These roles are outside the scope of the SourceOne services offered, although our consultants may be comfortable with minor examples of these types of tasks on a case-by-case basis. We consider these to be specialist skills that should have dedicated staff, even if only in part-time roles. We encourage contacting local marketing and design schools and tertiary institutions who are a great resource for recommending suitable up-and-coming personnel who deserve their first start in the workplace. We are keen to see organisations hire new local talent to succeed in these kinds of roles.
Note: Our conscientious documentation personnel will of course help to identify bugs in products and services or inefficiencies in workflow processes, and report these to the client's testers, developers and/or management. This incidental testing by SourceOne should only ever be seen as the last line of defence, and not a substitute for rigorous prior testing by dedicated personnel using professional tools and automated testing techniques.
Estimates for any scope of work are based on the expectation that client products and services are relatively stable, have been thoroughly tested, and that effective workflow is in place.