The gentle art of project documentation control

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Managing project documents can be an underappreciated art in some organizations. It’s an area where a technical writer should take charge. I’ve seen document control of all stripes throughout my career. Document control that works. Document control that didn’t work. Even document control that caused a near staff rebellion. I’ve even seen no formal document control practices.
While compliance programs like COSO and Sarbanes Oxley require document control over project documents, it also makes good business sense.
Here are some tips for implementing document control within your project team or organization:

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4 reasons why your document reviews aren’t working

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I’ve long been a student of technical document reviews. So much so, I worked as a technical reviewer for some computer book publishers to learn more about this critical element of the technical communications. Back then I thought I could do a better job than the reviewers where I was working at the time). Editorial and technical reviews are integral parts of the technical publications process. Unfortunately, so many organizations fumble through the review cycle.

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The 7 deadly sins of project leadership

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Project team leadership is an even more important skill in today’s tight economic times making it even more of a shame when new, and even some experienced project leads fumble the ball in the name of their muddled agendas.

While doing more with less is quite a mantra these days, there are seven deadly sins of project leadership holding back once successful project teams from continuing to thrive.

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5 ways teams can recover from a failed or stalled writing project

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It’s never fun watching a technical documentation, training development, or other writing projects get off to a false start or just downright fail. It can be a real morale blow and expose the writer(s) and their team to criticism from stakeholders. However, failures do happen, and it is best to do what you can to recover from quickly.

Writing projects can fail or stall for a myriad of reasons including poor planning, course changes in the project plan, and other risks that may or not be accounted for in the overall project plan.

Here are five ways to get past a failed or stalled writing project:

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A few words about Microsoft Word and Track Changes

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One of the most useful – yet potentially embarrassing – features of Microsoft Word is Track Changes. Using the Track Changes feature lets you electronically markup your Word documents with edits, additions, and revisions. Think of it as an electronic red pen so to speak.

The potential embarrassment of the feature comes in when you don’t accept the Track Changes. Comments, edits, and revisions not fit for public consumption can leak out. Even if none of the comments are critical, it is just plain sloppy to have a recipient open up a document that still contains markups.

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Using Asana for managing personal projects

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While covering project management and collaboration topics for CNET TechRepublic, I had the opportunity to write about Asana, a social task management platform. I liked it so much I started using to manage the editorial checklists I create for articles, blog posts, and corporate client projects.

When it comes to project teams, Asana is a viable substitute for email. I even recommend Asana to freelancers and independents who need to centralize their project task management.

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Creating the collaborative corporate culture

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Technology pundits, consultants, and academics often see the latest online technologies, millennials, and work/life Balance are what drives online collaboration. It takes more than just one of those trends to drive collaboration. It’s about the total culture of so I’ve found during my time as a contract technical writer.
 
Corporate culture has to promote online collaboration for it to be successful. Culture gives employees space and tools for success to collaborate with their coworkers, contractors, and external customers.
 
Some integral elements of a collaborative corporate culture include:

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