Cleaning up your product content lifecycle

Sarah O'Keefe / Analysis3 Comments

Animation shows the process of extracting information from CAD, using it in tech pubs, but then updating the document and not the source CAD files as the product changes.

The product content lifecycle should result in information that is traceable–each data point in a document should point back to a database or another information source from which the data point was derived.

But unfortunately, we are not there yet.

Instead, we have workflows held together by duct tape and string. Here is a typical one:

Animation shows the process of extracting information from CAD, using it in tech pubs, but then updating the document and not the source CAD files as the product changes.

  1. Product engineers create a design in their CAD system.
  2. The information from the CAD file is pushed into tech pubs group and used in a document.
  3. The product specs change, and tech pubs dutifully captures the updates in their document.
  4. The updated product specs are NOT captured in the CAD file.

So now we have a document that is more accurate than the original design file. This shouldn’t happen, but unfortunately, it is still quite common.

The solution to problems like this is to understand how data moves through the organization. Most organizations have a fairly clean content creation workflow. But when information is updated, all bets are off.

Do you have a big NOPE in your workflow? We can help you fix these issues.

About the Author

Sarah O'Keefe

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Content strategy consultant and founder of Scriptorium Publishing. Bilingual English-German, voracious reader, water sports, knitting, and college basketball (go Blue Devils!). Aversions to raw tomatoes, eggplant, and checked baggage.

3 Comments on “Cleaning up your product content lifecycle”

  1. I think this is especially common in agile development, where product releases are smaller and more frequent. I think it helps to describe the docs as “living,” based on continuous improvement (an agile principle).

  2. I am an Information Coordinator for a product of 1.4 GB docset. The Writers work in different locations across the globe. Need pointers to reduce the docset size.

  3. Hi Shubhada,
    If you’re looking for information beyond general best practices, we offer consulting services in this area.

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