Posted by: datango AG | May 31, 2011

“But it doesn’t say that in the documentation…”

Sound familiar?

I was speaking with an executive from a Fortune 100 company a few weeks ago regarding the importance of maintaining end user documentation and help materials in order to maintain optimal user adoption. It wasn’t that the executive disagreed with the premise that ‘ensuring robust deliverables beyond go-live is important’, but rather that she argued that it isn’t feasible. In her organization there are more than 200 ‘enterprise’ applications with significant end user footprints. On average, an update/upgrade will rollout to one of these systems each 4-8 weeks (that’s a lot of parallel projects!). In summarizing the discussion, her organization doesn’t have enough time to maintain them with the current end user documentation teams.

Fast-forward a couple of weeks following a pilot of our software and it was clear that the reason her user documentation teams weren’t able to keep pace is because end user documentation was a ‘silod’ activity. In each case, the documentation teams start from scratch. Conversely, when we implemented an approach that allows the distribution of this activity across many project stakeholders that, ostensibly, create similar materials during other phases of the project (test script documents, for example), we we able to reduce the end user documentation team’s workload by more than 70%. Not only can the end user documentation team now ‘keep pace’ with change, but they are able to take the additional time saved and apply it towards optimizing the end user adoption of other systems. For this company, the cartoon below doesn’t apply (cartoon courtesy and copyright of Geek and Poke original here):

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