Now that we've got Jira rolled out through the entire company, I'm looking forward to seeing how I can use it with both Confluence and my technical writing. I'm wondering just how much benefit there'll be from using the Jira macros in the wiki, and how these allow the two system to collaborate.
More on this as and when.
More Work, More Benefits
As a technical writer I'm used to researching, writing and publishing user guides. In the pre-wiki days this was a relatively straightforward process involving MS Word, graphics, tables, reviews and PDFs.
In a wiki it's more complicated: there's more to do. Despite this, I still believe wikis are the way forward for a lot of user documentation.
Although my writing processes still encompasses the steps listed above (minus using Word - now I either write directly into the wiki or I write in Notepad), it also includes a number of other things such as:
- adding labels/tags (for searching and grouping)
- adding links (to and from related topics)
- using a wide variety of macros (to re-use content, create TOCs, searchable fields etc etc).
And there's more. For example, I now have to monitor work from other depts that they've added to the user info. I have to research the tools (macros and plugins for example) available because I want to see if we can use these to improve what we're delivering and how we deliver it. Although we don't mess around with the content and formatting just because we can, we also have to test new ideas out to see what benefits these bring.
All of this adds work and yes, it does make the whole process of creating and delivering user content longer and more complicated.
But the benefits to myself as a techcial writer, and the company and clients in terms of better and more usable content far out way the negatives.
It's an investment in time and effort that rewards everyone - and you can't say fairer than that can you?