Technical Knowledge Papers


Think BoxThink INSIDE the Box!  ©2016 Mark Henderson

I know that every reader has heard—and most likely has used—the cliché, “Think outside the box.” I never did like that cliché. Partly, because it was, you know, so cliché, but also because every time I heard it used, I would find myself asking, “What box?” Read more….

pirateWhy Dangle Me Participle and Shiver Me Timbers: He’s Struck a Pernicious Nuance   ©2016 Mark Henderson

Technical editors fear nuances. They’re akin to land mines when your job is to make a safe, straight, sensible path for others. Technical editors’ fear and loathing of sneaky nuances is only matched by the fear and loathing of a computer science engineer being tasked with writing an expository paper on Keats…Read more….

costs of downtimeThe Hidden Costs of Gettin’ it Wrong   ©2016 Mark Henderson 

I had a recent meeting with a potential client, and one of the topics we discussed was the oftentimes grossly underestimated—or even completely UN-estimated—costs of equipment and machines “going down”. While the subject wasn’t integral to our decision to collaborate on his project… Read more….

man writing a contractThe Techno-Creative Conundrum   ©2015 Mark Henderson

One of the things I’ve observed in dealing with business people and individuals considering their options for developing their book is that most of these people seem to have pre-formed distinctions between technical or business and creative writing. Read more….

Building-RelationshipsSetting the Tale for Success, Part 1: Forming Winning SME-Writer Relationships   ©2015 Mark Henderson

In my profession as a consulting technical writer, I have a critical dependency on the subject matter experts, or SMEs, to create technically valid deliverables on a schedule. Nobody knows the guts of the matter better than the SME. Even if I bring some previous experience… ”Read more….

ID-10093350Setting The Table for Success, Part 2: Forming SME-Writer Relationships   ©2015 Mark Henderson

As we discussed in the first installment, there are some things we can do to “set the table for the success” for your subject matter expert (SME)-technical writer team. In this second and final paper, I want to discuss some specifics I’ve picked up over the many years… Read more….

VersionControl620x308What’s in a Name: Considerations for Defining the Naming System for Your Documents and Data   ©2015 Mark Henderson 

If I were a betting man, I’d lay a tidy sum on the side that most of you reading this have never given serious thought to how and what to name your documents. But, if I were to prove that the methodology you use to identify (and control) your documentation can have… Read more…

glass buildingWhen Good Procedures Go Bad   ©2015 Mark Henderson

I recently worked with a client to develop a large number of detailed task procedures. It was a great relationship and in the course of the contract, we developed about 400 procedures over a vast array of equipment and planned work activities. This was done largely in response to the client’s top management direction… Read more…

translations_of_operating_instructionsWhy the OEM’s Manual May Not Be Right–At Least For Your Business   ©2015 Mark Henderson

“Why, if I had a nickel for every time I heard that….” is the perfect cliché’ to introduce this topic. Seriously, I wish I did have that giant truckload of nickels as often as I’ve heard this saying—a.k.a. “roadblock”—for creating clear, concise & valid documentation:  Why would we rewrite the instructions… Read more…

8-redundant-info - CopyInformation Overload   ©2015 Mark Henderson

I made a faux pas the other day:  I had gotten off the elevator at a client’s building, leading—with legs that are always aimed somewhere and moving fast—a group to a meeting. Being first to reach the doors, I grabbed and inadvertently tried to rip the thick-glassed door off the hinges… Read more…

ROI-for-Investments-in-ITSM-Initiatives-250x250 - CopyROI: The Case For Investing in Your Business’s Documentation   ©2015 Mark Henderson

There are as many business platitudes as there are businesses:  Focus on safety; focus on quality; focus on improved sales; focus on the environment; focus on small, furry animals. You’ve heard most of them before. Well, maybe except the “small, furry animals”—that was a freebie. But kidding aside… Read more…