The Competitions Are Fast ApproachingAlways!
By Carol Hobday
"I really meant to enter this year... I wanted to, but suddenly, the deadline for entering is here and I'm not ready."
Is this you? If so, here are some suggestions to consider as you develop a plan of action to be ready for next year! Integrate the competitions into your planning process. Consider these questions:
- What's done? Most projects include a wrap-up session. Add a discussion of competition-worthiness to the agenda. If you decide that a print document is headed to the competition, now is a good time to make sure you have three copies to enter. Plus, you involve the whole project team, not just the writers, in the discussion.
- What's old? At the end of the year (fiscal, calendar, or otherwise), take a look back at what you've done. What was the best? What was new? What could benefit from professional feedback?
- What's new? As you look ahead, particularly if your company has a formal evaluation process, be sure to include entering the competition as one of your goals. What new projects are coming your way? Knowing they're headed for the competition will add that extra something to your planningand boost next year's evaluation!
- What's hot? What does marketing think is cool? No doubt you put extra effort into that product's documentation. Don't forget to let marketing know when you receive an award!
- What's not? Remember that you can enter each document only once, so if you entered User Guide version 3.0 in the competition last year, you won't be able to enter User Guide version 3.2 this year. Maybe this is a good time to reconsider the doc set. What's missing? What could (or should!) be reworked or createdand what would make a great competition entry?
Once you evaluate the situation you will seeyou DO have stuff to enter!
See you at the competitions! And don't forget to sign up to be a judge and gather even more ideas on entering!
Carol Hobday is the co-chair of the online competition committee and is a Localization Program Manager at Polycom in North Andover.