Weekly report from Chief of Staff
Announcement from Documentation Manager (September 6, 2022)
Documentation fans, now we have a newly reorganized Admin Guide to go with the recently reorganized User Guide. Props to @Tara Sweeney for shepherding the whole process of user testing, analysis, and updates for those two substantial and complex sets of docs! Feedback is welcome as always. If you’re interested in more details about what we changed in the Admin Guide, see this page:
Feedback from Customer Support related to the reorganized documentation (September 8th, 2022)
Accountability – Installation Instructions overhaul
More content is being created and shared at the solution level, and the demands are increasing for content type alignment and accuracy. A senior software engineer from the Immediate Payments’ team recognized instances where Tara English-Sweeney found misplaced and incorrect content in their collection and improved other deliverables to promote organization, accuracy, and single-sourcing. These improvements generate momentum and build case studies for additional Information Development team members to follow. Nice job.
Integrity – Content Review Gadget
Thank you for creating the gadget that solved a tracking issue for workflows. We had team members actively using GoJira but hampered by high WIP limits due to technical limitations. Workarounds addressed the WIP issue but not the tracking, which your gadget addressed. Good timing, and thanks for being proactive in addressing the issue.
Customer Centricity – ConvertFrom-Word2Adoc tool improvements
Thank you for testing the conversion tool and recommending improvements. The changes released may appear small but foster the right culture and potentially result in compounding savings, especially as the tool increases in use. Nice job.
Accountability – Immediate Payments’ project management support
The ID team assumed Immediate Payments (IP) support in January 2018. Over these years, IP’s ID project manager shifted a few times including April. Given the importance of Immediate Payments and its steady (and growing) customer commitments, the project management functions were handed to Tara English-Sweeney. Tara assumed the project management role temporarily until we hired and onboarded a new team member. After getting familiar with the product, Tara took several aggressive steps to help normalize workflows and expectations. She established a new documentation process that included resetting agreements with development teams. Tara also updated our catalog of content available to customers, recognizing dozens of missing deliverables and correcting numerous errors. She then migrated all remaining core IP documents into the new Docs-as-Code platform, which included leading seven training sessions for authors and reviewers. Lastly, Tara completed onboarding Christine King, our newest team member, to hand off all ID project management functions. Tara was promoted to Sr. Technical Information Developer in April. She has clearly embraced that role’s higher responsibilities and demonstrated leadership across our team. Nice job.
Customer Centricity – You are just AMAZING
I can’t thank you and documentation team enough for all of you hard work in helping getting a quality set of documentation for Digital Disbursements standalone solution. Digital Disbursements is a new offering to our clients and prospects and the client User Guide and Implementation Guide are paramount to the client’s success and being able to quickly get to revenue for ACI. These are critical documents for the client experience and with your guidance and expertise, you have delivered those in a very short time frame. I appreciate you and the team questioning the information provided to ensure that the documentation is professional, resonates with the intended audience and puts ACI is in the best light. – Director, Product Management
Customer Centricity – Topic creation innovation
The Information Development team always welcomes innovative ideas to streamline repetitive processes. A common action is to create a large number of topics with minimal effort, which is common when overhauling or creating deliverables. Tara English-Sweeney was able to use Excel to create placeholder topics for our Docs-as-Code platform. She researched and wrote a macro that automatically creates named AsciiDoc files that follow the expected template details. Doing so allows writers to quickly set up their project artifacts to facilitate writing and avoid these operational tasks that disrupt the workflow. Given that we have tens of thousands of topics in the system and many thousands to be created per year, this macro will help everyone who writes content. Nice job.
Accountability – Docs-as-Code migration leadership
The Information Development team’s move to the Docs-as-Code platform had many business and technology drivers that came from outside the team. Despite having a mandated system, Tara English-Sweeney was an early and enthusiastic adopter. In 2020 Q3-4, Tara led pilots for UPF and UOB to confirm success for widespread release. She not only outlined and refined complex installation and configuration instructions but also developed a training outline and best practices. The outline has been used in 30 interactive training sessions conducted by close of Q1, and the knowledge base that includes procedures, troubleshooting tips, FAQs, and other reference materials are indispensable assets. During the migration, Tara worked closely with our Sr. Software Engineer to refine the transformation scripts. These improvements had compounding benefits, as a single fix could apply to hundreds of similar instances across dozens of deliverables saving untold hours. During and following the migration, Tara carved out time to be a key point of contact across the user base to address problems reported through the Docs-as-Code Workplace group, as her posts and replies comprised nearly 80% of all entries on the site. She and others also led several team meetings to accelerate platform cross-training. Tara strives hard to meet our team’s needs now and in the future. Her attention to continuous improvement is demonstrated by submitting numerous innovation ideas for future consideration and solving real-time problems.
Customer Centricity – Docs-as-Code training presentations
Thank you for participating in our experiment to acelerate cross-training on Docs-as-Code by identifying and presenting subjects of interest at our team meetings. Given the absence of a vendor and limited information publicly available on our configuration, we’ve shaped our platform to make sense for our team, and your efforts to help us reach a solid baseline are appreciated and well-earned. Keep it up.
Customer Centricity – Common sourcing and hosting platforms
Thank you for your contributions to the business case to promote common sourcing and hosting platforms. Your insights helped form a more complete picture. Nice job.
Teamwork – Git troubleshooting
Nice job identifying the root cause that led failed push events in Git. I like the methodical approach you used to identify the issue. After researching with no results, you watched a user perform the steps, and upon seeing a minor variation from the prescribed procedure, you reviewed the procedure again when the user had not yet pulled the latest content from the remote repository. By following these steps, you were able to reproduce the issue, identifying the origin and a fix. Thank you for addressing this and documenting it for the teams who are using our new documentation approach.
Determination – Docs-as-Code release to production
Thank you for your ongoing commitment to synthesizing conflicting advice from outside sources, writing instructions and best practices, communicating details at each team meeting and in independent exchanges, and overall making the project happen! Despite the initial exchange where we heard this transition would be easy with all technical details preconfigured, we recognized the opposite situation but accommodated to the situation. Your resilience is especially noteworthy at a time when all of us are facing personal challenges with Covid and uncertainty about our team and future.
Teamwork – Sensitive word analysis
Thank you for completing a challenging but relevant project in analyzing sensitive words and recommending replacements. It’s good that the team took a methodical approach to show industry trends and their correlation to ACI’s content. You did this by evaluating a large collection of content and making a case-by-case determination across thousands of instances, rather than offering superficial recommendations, which demonstrates the necessary due diligence.
Determination – UPF Cloud delivery commitment
Tara was asked drop everything to prioritize the Getting Started with UPF Cloud document to satisfy an early drop to the Immediate Payments (IP) team. She had dependencies on the architecture team, and they were delayed. This caused the delivery of the document to run into her scheduled PTO. She took proactive steps to move the architects forward, completed all possible changes before leaving, lined up team members for support while out, and handled changes on her PTO and upon her return. Doing so promoted a positive relationship with the UPF, but more importantly gave the IP satisfaction and confidence in the UPF team. Nice job.
Customer-Centricity – TCH Gateway 1.3 Support
Thank you for accommodating an unreasonable and foreseeable problem created by the IP team. Helping us over the weekend to meet the GA commitments shows excellence and commitment beyond expectation. While we can’t offer you a monetary reward–though it would be equal to a few hundred GK bucks–rest assured you’re a candidate for cloning. Yeah, we do that here.
(Awards put on hold due to COVID-19)
Customer-Centricity – UPF and UOB Pilots
Tara conducted two pilot studies to determine whether the UPF and UOB teams would find the Docs-as-Code platform acceptable to replace the current Bluestream authoring environment. She not only connected with a Senior Architect, to discuss the objectives, but she downloaded and learned the various software components, wrote installation instructions, created an assignment for the teams, and synthesized the feedback on completion. Tara also created a video that lasted under 10 minutes describing the IntelliJ interface to edit in AsciiDoc syntax, which will allow us to share the highlights to any Product Development member. If the platform is successfully adopted, it will contribute to ACI’s long-term documentation strategy and save the company over 300K over the next 3 years.
Determination – UPF seed data
Thank you for helping the UPF team with creating SQL scripts and populating seed data, so that several teams can deploy UPF on their own.
Teamwork – Contributed in completion of UOB
Thank you Tara, for your timely help and patiently helping UOB team to address the challenges faced in documentation due to lack of knowledge. It was great working with you for those few days and help me smoothly update documentation and observe how you helped our team in removing documentation risk for 6.0.14 major release.
Determination – Team meeting volunteer
Thank you for being the first team member to present at a weekly team meeting. Your willingness to get the group started helps set the tone for participation across the group.
Determination – UOB transition
We lost team members in November who were responsible for managing UOB. They left their product files in disarray and product and development teams without confidence in our staffing or tools. Thanks to your prompt attention, you allayed their concerns by delivering the 6.0.14 release and about Wex through numerous training sessions, ad hoc meetings, and daily stand-ups. You enabled us for success and allowed for a smooth hand-off to our newest ID member, who will take over the project management responsibilities in 2020.
Teamwork – Student Portal
We want to recognize you for your contribution to Student Portal over 2019 in reviewing requirements, writing first drafts, and completing numerous revisions over many sprints. The achievement is extraordinary, as the project began in 2018 and had major releases in July and November of 2019. Student Portal allows students and their authorized users to have a centralized location to make tuition and fees payments at their school, as well as to set up payment plans for installed payments. The UI is linked from the school’s website, giving students a seamless payment experience. Student Portal users include higher-ed students and their authorized users, usually family members who want to help the students pay fees. Key schools currently using Student Portal include MIT, Millersville University, and Swarthmore, among others, with more to come.
Customer-centricity – PostgreSQL Confluence site development
Thank you for your contribution to the PostgreSQL Confluence site development initiative. Your efforts will be recognized in the PDD and ID newsletters and are much appreciated across the Technology organization.
Teamwork – UPF release documentation
Tara had to juggle documentation work during the ongoing UPF 4.2 sprints while also responding to 2 other unplanned releases that we had to deliver due to critical customer requirements. The UPF 4.1.2 release for OTP that was delivered at the end of July took 8 weeks from inception to delivery. OTP then decided to go with UPF 4.1.2 single site instead of dual-site replication deployment contrary to what they had originally planned. For this type of deployment, we had to quickly provide an analysis document internally to discuss among architects and engineers and then slim that down for OTP’s consumption to enable them to migrate from single to dual-site active-active deployment. Almost at the same time, OTP requested that a follow-up patch release to UPF 4.1.2 was required and they wanted it turned around within a few days and over the weekend before they went live with UPF 4.1.2 in mid-September. As we delivered this patch release on 9th September, OTP demanded that the patch release must roll in without any downtime. Within a few days, we undertook technical analysis, worked the weekend and produced a technical document with detailed steps on the deployment of multiple JBoss servers to reduce downtime. Tara was very responsive in dealing with all of the above challenges and worked on multiple documents and requests with UPF engineers, architects, and product management. She delivered all these documents both in a timely manner and with excellent quality. And lastly, at the tail end of 4.2, as we struggled to complete the quality audit validation work and resolve defects while updating the documents, Tara turned around many documents despite being pressed for time. Thank you for all your efforts, Tara!
Teamwork – Elevating the ID team, promoting customer solution
Thank you for all your hard work on our Implementation Services team performance goal! Your commitment, enthusiasm, curiosity and work ethic has made this project an enormous success. With your help, the Information Development team has forged strong bonds and promoted cross-functional collaboration. The invaluable research we’ve gathered will go a long way toward delivering better customer solutions!
Determination – Relational Database Project
Our Technical Information Developers have tried with minimal success over the past two years to learn full-stack concepts and employ that knowledge on real documentation. Your efforts in learning about relational databases included partnering with SMEs, installing the necessary software, learning and synthesizing database concepts, creating a working project, and organizing dependent knowledge and practical applications to present to the larger ID team on 9/18/19. These efforts far exceed just a presentation to the team. They demonstrate initiative and make the learning process approachable. Working on database documentation is now within our grasp and something we can offer as a service across PD in 2020.
Teamwork – Positive editorial exposure
Thank you for supporting the UPF team’s effort in creating a combined OTP document supporting MCAS and APSF. You helped refresh the OTP – Single to Dual Site Migration document and simplified its language.
Customer-Centricity – Bluestream XDocs CCMS and Oxygen error messages
Thank you for identifying the most number of cryptic error messages from our CMS platform in response to the contest. These details will be forwarded to Bluestream for processing.
Customer-Centricity – UPF internal documentation consolidation project
Consolidating documentation into a common repository not only helps improve the search experience but has direct monetary benefits by reducing licensing costs. UPF has a valuable collection of internal-facing content on Salesforce. Through our team’s efforts, we are making this content available from Confluence, and our architects have noticed and called out the achievement positively.
Teamwork – Contribution to establishing ID success criteria
Our most challenging subject is defining success. We are transitioning from an expensive, large-scale CMS to one that is nimble and flexible. Our workflows are being overhauled from single-threaded to distributed. Team decisions are moving from top-heavy directives to self-empowering agreements. These changes are sweeping, and it allows us to examine not only our roles within ID but contribution across ACI. In that spirit, we are looking at ways to define both personal and team success to share across the company. It’s a difficult subject but a conversation and process we must work through. This award is to recognize you for participating actively in our most important and foundational discussion on this subject at the team meeting on January 23. Thank you for the insights and willingness to take on this issue directly.
Customer Obsession – Recognition from UPF team
From Sekar Arputhaswamy: “ID team comprising of Tara and Don have been extremely helpful to us and have always been on top of any last minute requests made to them. They are very accommodative of schedules and always strive to work keeping in view of our consumer needs. They work tirelessly trying to streamline and continuously improve our documentation.”
Passion for Action – Helping improve Telecommuter SharePoint site
Tara, this recognition is much later than it should be! Autumn and I wanted to thank you on behalf of the entire Telecommuter Community for your help in making much needed improvements to our Telecommuter SharePoint site. This was above-and-beyond your daily responsibilities, and you graciously offered your time to completely overhaul the site. The end result is a vast improvement and makes the site much more useful and relevant to our 500+ member community. Thank you very much for volunteering to help improve our site!
Teamwork – Production Assistant Recruiting and Hiring
Selecting qualified individuals that share the values of the company and department is the most important decision one can make to realize a successful team. You have again demonstrated your commitment to this goal. Also, you have given Siphe Mtongana a chance to further her career by joining a supportive team of technical writing professionals. Well done and a heartfelt thank you!
Teamwork – Thank you for your significant doc contributions
Thank you Tara for the significant time and effort you put into for the success of UPF 3.6 product documentation. I know you have responsibilities with Fraud products, but you committed fully to UPF product documentation these past few months to write and edit content, and to collaborate with Agile teams. Without your contribution it would have been impossible to complete the large UPF 3.6 product documentation set in time. Thanks!
Cooperation – Production Assistant Hiring Process
You participated in the screening, interviewing, and selection process for our new Production Assistants, leading to the successful hire of our two newest members. The process involved developing interview questions and take-home test, entering copious notes on 13 candidate profiles, interviewing 5 candidates and evaluating their test results, and ultimately selecting our final candidates, Lauren Shabalala and Leila Isaacs. These positions will have a substantial effect on our team’s ability to complete the outstanding conversion work and integrate with our content production workflows to offload operational and administrative activities. Well done!
Collaboration – Embedded Help Repository
Thank you for the considerable effort on the Embedded Help workstream–especially this quarter with the validation of the repository . Your careful attention to the test design, process, analysis, and updates has ensured that this repository meets the standards of the ID team. I appreciate the extra time and commitment you put into this project!
Trust – Common Lexicon User Validation
Thank you for your leadership in the Common Lexicon User Validation subteam this quarter! Not only did you validate the terms with users, but you identified usage gaps within our existing framework and also created a new template for validation reuse in the future. I appreciate how your team responded to feedback from both users and the CL team, and how you also made adjustments to refine your final deliverables.
Collaboration – Going above and beyond on APSF Embedded Help
Thanks Tara for your thorough review of APSF embedded help and for the collaborative effort on helping to improve APSF user assistance above and beyond your assigned RPE work on the project.
Manager note: Tara, your contributions to APSF have far exceeded my expectations! Congratulations on finishing the embedded help.
Collaboration – Meeting a challenging deliverable
Tara, THANK YOU for your hard work and doing a great job picking up a documentation set you have never worked with before, updating it on very short notice/fast turnaround and meeting the deadline! The team appreciates your help.