Learning From Your Peers

Kathy Madison, Comtech Services

Professional organizations, like The Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM), are established so members can learn from their peers, advance their careers, share best practices, and keep up to date on new technologies in their field. CIDM was started twenty years ago to provide a forum for information-development managers around the world who felt isolated from their colleagues. Recently, we asked our current CIDM members to tell us why they joined our organization and what value they are getting from it.

Chris Gales, a CIDM advisory committee member from Splunk summed it up perfectly:

“The Center for Information-Development Management provides a unique community of experts. By focusing specifically on information-development managers, CIDM enables knowledge-sharing and professional collaboration that spans all aspects of technical communication today, from writing and development processes to user experience, change management, performance, academic research, and fostering innovation across a global workforce. I have been associated with CIDM for 20 years, and it continues to challenge and propel my thinking as an industry practitioner and a leader within my company.”

Other members shared similar comments that are aligned with what CIDM envisioned the organization could do for its members:

“CIDM has been a key partner over the years as Lexmark’s information development tools and strategies have evolved and matured. As both attendees and presenters at CIDM conferences, our teams have valued the opportunity to network with other information managers, sharing content-related pain points and exchanging innovative ideas. CIDM is our go-to resource for expert advice on all matters of information development management.” (Patty Cobb, Lexmark)

“CIDM has been a vital partner as we have transformed our content creation, storage, and publishing processes and tools. At a high-level, they have provided insight into industry trends. At the workday, get-it-done level, they have provided spot-on training and guidance to our international writing team.” (Barbara Gstalder, Plantronics and Polycom now together as Poly)

“Ecclesiastes 4:12 – Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. In Solomon’s wisdom, CIDM is the third cord that holds the technical communications community together. The connections I’ve made allow me to learn, share, and validate processes, practices, and ideas with stakeholders of the community. I’m improving information process maturity within my group because of CIDM and the business

“CIDM provides a key pathway to the tools and knowledge needed for intuitive and well-developed content. The information CIDM provides is a must have.” (Rich Gebhardt, Mastercard)

“If you’re in the business of information development, there are no teams more knowledgeable and practiced than CIDM/Comtech. They are consistently at the leading edge of our information services domain and have an uncanny ability to assemble highly-relevant resources for each and every CIDM conference. Their services are world class and I encourage all to leverage that expertise. We are fortunate to have had that opportunity.” (Anonymous member)

“CIDM provides DITA training that is critical to our implementation of DITA.” (Anonymous member)

“I’m always curious about DITA strategies so I always come to the CIDM website when I can’t make the conference. The CIDM team is not only easy to talk to but an incredible resource. I’ve connected to other people through CIDM as well as introductions directly through Dawn. The conferences are invaluable for all levels of DITA users – including if you’re not sure you want to convert. We’ve used their courses for team training as well as presented our case studies at the conferences. Take advantage of the things they have to offer.” (Peggy Sanchez, Cray)

“CIDM is important to our plans for training and growing our team. We want to maintain a growth mindset, and CIDM is part of the solution.” (Anonymous member)

“CIDM is an important forum for staying connected to industry leaders and peers in other organizations and provides vital information that help us to stay on top of best practices and trends. The opportunities to engage and collaborate with individuals across the industry are diverse and allow us to learn, grow, and exchange ideas, and our membership has allowed us to increase participation in these opportunities. CIDM has allowed for continued professional development across our content development team through the broad spectrum of educational and training opportunities that appeal to multiple experience levels and roles and support various growth areas within the overall content and technical writing profession.” (Pat Burrows, Waters)

Comtech Services is the company that coordinates the CIDM go-to resources and networking opportunities that members referenced, but it is the members themselves who create the content for the CIDM conferences, newsletters, webinars, monthly management roundtable discussions and annual benchmarking studies. It is because of Comtech’s interactions with the information-development community that we can provide premium training and consulting services; we too are learning from our peers.

If you are interested in becoming a CIDM member or understanding what your return on investment might be, please contact me at, kathy.madison@comtech-serv.com.

Countdown to Best Practices 2020