Reinventing Content Publishing

Presentation Abstract

As software has moved to the cloud and evolved into Software as a Service, there’s been an increasing need for software documentation to evolve as well. Documentation processes and project management methodologies that relied on long release cycles don’t work in the more agile world of continuous software updates.

While working through this evolution, the Microsoft Dynamics AX Content Publishing team was hit with a massive layoff, reducing a team of 40 people to a team of 10. Suddenly, the idea of reinventing how we worked and how we delivered content in a more agile way took on a much more extreme meaning. Over the past year, we’ve worked through a true reinvention. We developed a model where the role of the writer has changed to the role of Content Strategist, the role of the manager has changed to one of empowering the team rather than trying to solve the team’s problems, the role of creating content has moved to a variety of subject matter experts, and the role of ensuring content quality has been distributed across teams who work most closely with customers.

We’ve learned a great deal through this reinvention, and this talk shares the highlights of what we’ve learned.


What can attendees expect to learn?

This talk looks at how the Microsoft Dynamics AX Content Publishing team reinvented their roles, authoring tools, and content creation and publishing processes in an environment where staffing levels are so low that writers can no longer write. You’ll learn about this team’s experience in moving away from traditional content publishing practices and instead, collaborating with other subject matter experts in planning content, identifying appropriate authors, incenting subject matter experts to create the content, and leveraging teams outside of Content Publishing to ensure content quality. The talk covers aspects of change management, influencing without authority, collaboration, partnering, creative problem solving, and teamwork.

Meet the Presenter

Bio photo - Ann Beebe

Ann Beebe has been leading content publishing teams at Microsoft for 18 years. She’s managed the documentation teams for Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Business Framework, Visual Studio, Home and Small Business Server, and is currently leading the documentation teams for Microsoft Dynamics’ AX and GP products. Prior to joining Microsoft, Ann managed documentation, training, and corporate communications for Barfield, Cauthen & Associates in Atlanta, and managed documentation and usability teams for Sales Technologies, Inc. in Atlanta.


In addition to creating content that helps people do their jobs more successfully, the aspects of her work that Ann loves the most are developing teams, creating an environment that people want to be part of, working with a diverse group of people, and helping people grow in their jobs. Some of the most exciting parts of Ann’s work right now are leading her team in developing and delivering a new content model, with a much smaller footprint than traditional content has, which focuses on creating very targeted content to help customers accomplish business processes.

Ann holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Central Florida and an MS in Information Design and Communication from Southern Polytechnic State University in Atlanta.

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