November Chapter Meeting Enjoyed by All

Nearly 20 of us attended the chapter meeting last night at the Gaithersburg Hilton, which featured two useful presentations by accomplished speakers Annette Reilly and Carolyn Watt. Annette heads STC’s Standards Council and chairs the US ISO group (ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC7 US TAG), which is meeting this week in Maryland to develop an international standard for user documentation in an agile environment, among other software and systems engineering standards. Agile itself does not have any applicable international standard but the ISO group is forging ahead with a standard for user documentation in an agile environment. Carolyn Watt is a member of the international standards group as well. STC WDC was honored to have guests from the ISO group from Japan, Canada, India, and Australia in attendance at the meeting.

Annette Reilly, who is an STC Fellow, began the evening with a presentation about documentation in an agile environment. She explained that the ISO group is currently researching which issues the future standard needs to address. The future standard is likely to have recommendations for issues in managing, developing, reviewing, and testing user documentation on agile teams. Special concerns include working on "self-governing" teams, keeping documentation in synch with rapid development sprints, and working in environments where specifications and design documentation are not rigidly controlled. In these situations, user documentation developers can play a vital role in keeping the team on track. The new standard is also expected to contain a checklist for gaining information from developers.

Carolyn Watt of Carolyn Watt & Associates of Toronto, Ontario, an STC Associate Fellow, spoke next. She delivered an engaging presentation entitled "The Customer Experience, What Is It and Why Should I Care?" She gave each of us a handout with exercises to follow during her presentation and tips to take home. Her main point was that customers don't remember what you do for them, they remember how you made them feel. The customer experience is the collective moments of contact that your customer has with you measured against their expectations. She asked each of us to recall a moment of contact that we have in our lives, and which emotion that contact evoked. She recommended that we think of the emotion we want others to have when we make contact with them. All of us have customers, even if we aren’t selling a tangible product. She introduced the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which uses the percent of the three types of customers—promoters, passives, and detractors—to determine the health of a company.

All of this excellent content translated into an excellent value for attendees as well. For only $5 per chapter member, an amount subsidized heavily by the chapter's bank account, or $20 per nonmember, the Gaithersburg Hilton served warm spinach and artichoke dip with pita and an antipasto platter, as well as coffee, hot tea, and iced tea. Members had a chance to network and learn something new. Value, indeed.

The next chapter meeting has not yet been scheduled. If you have an idea for a meeting or better yet, a free space the chapter can use to host it, please contact our chapter president, email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Event: Evolving Doc Standards in Agile Environment AND the Customer Experience

Want to know what the current thinking is among those who codify our profession? Ever wonder who those people are who define the ISO standards? Our chapter will host the ISO group while they’re here in D.C. for their collaborative work on technical engineering and documentation standards.

Come meet some ISO members and hear two STC fellows who are part of ISO: Carolyn Watts and Annette Reilly. Carolyn will speak on the customer experience and why it matters, and Annette will discuss her work with ISO on developing standards for technical documentation in the agile environment.

Location: Gaithersburg Hilton
620 Perry Parkway
Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA, 20877

Register on EventBrite for Two Talks in One: The Customer Experience What is it and Why should I Care?

Webinar: Implementing the ISO Standard for Software Technical Documentation in Your Workplace

For the first time, international standards from the International Standards Organization (ISO) provide unified requirements for those who design, develop, review, or test user documentation. These standards, largely developed by STC members, give a common framework for the structure, content, and format of user documentation in any media. Learn how you can effectively apply user documentation standards in both large and small organizations. This webinar is presented by the co-editors of ISO/IEC 26514:2008, Systems and software engineering —Requirements for designers and developers of user documentation.

Register for the Webinar: Implementing the ISO Standard for Software Technical Documentation in Your Workplace on Eventbrite.


Photo of Annette ReillyAnnette Reilly, PMP, CSDP, is a principal systems engineer for Lockheed Martin Enterprise Business Systems. She has over 25 years of experience with Lockheed Martin in information management, proposal management, and project leadership for large integration programs. She is a past president and Fellow of STC, and chair of the STC Standards Council. Dr. Reilly is the editor of three ISO standards for user and systems documentation. She received a BA from Rice University, MA and Ph.D from Brandeis University, and MIS from the George Washington University.

Photo of George HayhoeGeorge F. Hayhoe is professor of technical communication at Mercer University. A fellow of the Society for Technical Communication, he edited its journal, Technical Communication, from 1996 to 2008. He is also a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the IEEE Professional Communication Society, and is a past president of that society. He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of South Carolina. His professional interests include product and document usability, research in technical and professional communication, and core competencies of professional and technical communicators. Read more about George on his profile page.  Updated

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