Collaboration Strategies and Tools for Success

This class was cancelled and replaced with an afternoon session.

As Featured in TC Camp Gazette!Brief Description

In today’s global economy, where real-time product development occurs continuously, collaboration is essential. Cultivating a truly collaborative culture, however, is not easy. This interactive class will explore why collaboration is so difficult and how leaders can, through implementing the right strategies and tools, cultivate a culture of collaboration.

Detailed Description

What is a culture of collaboration, why does it matter, and why is everyone talking about it? In today’s global economy where real-time product development occurs continuously, collaboration is essential. And while the business culture requires collaborative interactions to develop products around the world, a truly collaborative culture is not so easy to cultivate. Information products are no exception.

The instructor will highlight compelling research on why collaboration is so difficult and how leaders can, through implementing the right strategies and tools, cultivate a culture of collaboration. Class topics will include collaboration as a leadership practice; barriers to collaboration, such as innovation, hoarding, and knowledge transfer; theoretical perspectives on why collaboration barriers occur; solutions for overcoming those barriers, such as t-shaped management, networks, and enablers; and tools for assessing an organization’s collaborative potential. To help class participants get started on building a culture of collaboration, the instructor will also introduce a sample collaboration map and action plan that participants can adapt for use in their organization.

The class format includes large-group discussion, lecture (no more than 35 minutes), and small-group activities. During this interactive class, participants will have opportunities to share collaboration challenges in their organizations and to work together to identify strategies for overcoming those challenges. The instructor will also lead the class in one or two small-group collaboration activities.

Key Learning Objectives

  • Understand why a culture of collaboration is critical to achieving business goals.
  • Learn why successful collaboration requires both the motivation to collaborate and the ability to do so.
  • Identify four primary barriers to collaboration—innovation, hoarding, access to information, and knowledge transfer—and understand why these barriers occur.
  • Determine what collaboration solutions, such building a network of alliances and implementing enablers, will help you overcome these barriers.
  • Share collaboration challenges with peers and begin work on a collaboration map and action plan for your organization.

Intended Audience

  • Technical communication managers and teams struggling to work effectively together.
  • Anyone interested in better understanding why collaboration is so difficult and why multi-dimensional solutions to collaboration are essential to achieving desired results.

Recommended Reading (before class meets, if possible)

“Building a Collaborative Writing Strategy.” CIDM Best Practices 13.3 (June 2011): 57, 61–70. Rebekka
Andersen and Charlotte Robidoux, authors.

Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results. Morten Hansen,
author. Harvard Business Press, 2009.

Recommended Activity (before class, if possible)

Use Morten Hansen’s online assessment tools to quickly assess how your organization or unit measure up according to the principles of disciplined collaboration, as described in Hansen’s book, Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results.

Go to to access tools to help you evaluate collaboration opportunities, spot barriers to collaboration, tailor collaboration solutions, and assess how you stack up against a collaborative leadership style. Complete all four surveys, if possible, and bring the results to class. You will have an opportunity to share survey results in small groups in class and discuss what the results suggest about how best to move forward.


Rebekka AndersenRebekka Andersen is an assistant professor in the University Writing Program at the University of California, Davis, where she teaches courses in professional and technical communication and digital literacy. Her research focuses on the diffusion of content management technologies in information-development teams. She studies diffusion inhibitors and facilitators, with a particular focus on the shaping forces of collaboration, communication, and culture. Rebekka has worked as a technical writer and editor and process documentation specialist. She has authored numerous articles in both best practices and peer-reviewed publications, and she regularly presents her research at both academic and industry conferences.

PDFs from DITA without Compromising Quality and Control (Workshop)

As Featured in TC Camp Gazette!
Have you been told that you have to sacrifice the look or layout of your PDFs in order to gain the benefits of XML and structured authoring? Are you concerned that moving to DITA will mean that you’ll need to pay consultants to maintain your publishing workflow? With FrameMaker and DITA-FMx you can continue to take advantage of your in-house expertise and tools while benefiting from the efficiencies of XML.
In this presentation you’ll learn about the various options for producing PDFs from DITA, and see how easy it is to publish PDFs using DITA-FMx. You’ll also see how you can take advantage of existing FrameMaker template development skills to control the layout and design of the PDFs. Even if you’re using another DITA authoring tool, you can use DITA-FMx for publishing.

Come to this presentation with your questions about PDF publishing from DITA. Scott will provide honest answers to your questions and your particular situation.  Bring your content! We’ll have lots of time for questions and we can even try some conversions of your sample content.


Scott PrenticeScott Prentice is the president of Leximation Inc., and has been in the technical publication field since 1991. His work focuses on EPUB, custom online Help, and web application development, as well as FrameMaker (plugin and structure application) development. He is very involved with DITA and created the DITA-FMx plugin for FrameMaker.

XML 15 Years Later — WTF? (Workshop)

As Featured in TC Camp Gazette!
Technical communications encompasses creating content, managing content, and presenting content…these days, that probably means using XML-based standards and tools. The technologies are powerful, but sometimes users find themselves unnecessarily frustrated and confused by software misadventures and ten-thousand-foot views of six-inch problems.

This class provides questions and answers based on twenty years’ experience in standards-based creation, management, and presentation of content and markup. Discussions will center around common problems, tool interactions, and consistent markup application and interpretation.

Crowd-sourced problems and solutions are welcome and encouraged!

Presenter: Michael Hahn

Back when dinosaurs ruled the earth and he was in junior high, Michael Hahn recited “The Duck”, by Ogden Nash, for an English assignment.

Many years later this skill came in handy to explain SGML and XML to introductory classes, his employers, and his mother. Michael is a central Illinois native living in Wichita, Kansas with his very patient wife, two cats, and a big, slobbering Labrador Retriever.