By Jaya Choudhary
It is been over 7 and half years since I have joined the field of technical communication. Writing interests me and that is the reason why I am here in this industry enjoying each day of my work along. It definitely offers me other opportunities, which nurtures my skills and interests, thus filling my life with new experiences every day.
One such opportunity came this year when the International Conference on Global Software Engineering, 2014 was announced. It has already been two years since I was writing articles on technical communication in the IEEE Computing Now website. Thus, I wanted to take a step forward and write a fully fledged paper presentation for an IEEE conference. The topic I selected was “Software Documentation in a Globally Distributed Environment”. But the journey was not easy. My paper was provisionally selected for the conference. I had to make some changes to my first draft to cater to a global audience who are mostly researchers and not well versed with the field of software documentation. One of the program committee members helped me in understanding the pulse of the audience and also reviewed my work. His contribution will be always remembered with high gratitude as it was a great learning experience for me. Finally, my paper presentation was selected after the shepherding process.
The abstract of my presentation was:
The Software Documentation lifecycle in a project dovetails in with the software development lifecycle. The challenges faced by the documentation team in a globally distributed setting have not received much attention. This paper highlights the challenges faced by the software documentation team in a globally distributed product development team.
Further the paper elaborates on the solutions implemented, successes and failures of the team. This also includes the learning of the team as it aligned with the Lean model of Software Development.
I presented my paper to the global audience on 19th August, 2014 at the ICGSE, 2014 held in Shanghai, China.
It indeed feels great to be connected to an audience of researchers, students, corporate heads, and to a group that is a mix of people who either do not know about software documentation or know very well about the same. The presentation was well accepted by the audience (both lay and well-versed). Unexpectedly, there were a row of questions being asked at the end of the presentation related to
- Content management systems
- Effort estimation and planning of tasks and resources
- Training of technical writers
- Prerequisite to be a technical writer
- Translation process (risks and mitigation plans), and so on.
During the 4 day conference, I also learnt lot about some excellent research work that are done by students over the globe on Mobile Speech translation technology for requirements engineering, creation of a new software model, key note speeches by corporate heads on changing faces of software engineering, and so on. I also realized the huge potential that we as technical communicators possess to step in this field. We have so many topics that hail from our day to day activities that talk about innovation, case studies (journey of our success stories and problem solving stories), technology, domain, and so on that can be written about and presented at such global forums. It is high time that we as technical communicators take the ownership of spreading a word about our work, domain, technology, and innovation on global platforms for software engineering supported by IEEE and so on and not restricted to technical communication conferences. I hope that this is just the beginning and not the end.
Jaya Choudhury is working as a Documentation engineer at Siemens Technology and Services Pvt. Ltd. She has an experience of over 7.5 years in Technical Communication. Jaya has written articles for IEEE Computing Now website and has also presented at the various STC India conferences over the past 4 years. Jaya has recently presented at the International Conference on Global Software Engineering, 2014 in Shanghai, China.
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