In the News: Sara Buchanan

A project I, Sara Buchanan, managed at my job recently came to fruition! I share my experience below:

Almost three years ago, I had a stroke of luck and landed my dream job at LCS! One of the highlights of that job is my amazing, supportive manager. Just months after I was hired, I approached my manager about the software solution we were using to create the help file for Rent Manager, our software. I was given the green light to find a better option, and I did!

After a year of research and conversations about the future of our team and the company, we convinced the CEO that I had found a better software solution. I was still pretty new at a small (though growing) company on a team of two Technical Writers (including myself). My manager and CEO took a chance on the fact that I could (and would) see this project through to the end.

Fast forward a year, and we have a staff of five Technical Writers (including me) and a new improved help file. To understand the epic accomplishment, you have to peep our old help file using MadCap (and a string of corporate owners before that) Doc-To-Help.

Doc-To-Help gave us little to no control over the output and functionality of the help file. Granted, we were able to do all our work in Microsoft Word. It’s a good way to manage a large amount of content in a simplified, automated output. Depending on your needs, Doc-To-Help might be perfect for you. However, it didn’t provide the experience we wanted for our customers and employees.

Our epic, new help file using MadCap Flare gives us complete control over our output including our Table of Contents, topic navigation, search filters, etc. Flare allowed us to build an output that could meet our needs and provide an intuitive, accurate experience for our readership.

Flare is a robust software solution that required the Documentation team to learn new skills–quickly. As a team, we’ve had to modify and remodify our documentation standards and workflow to accommodate Flare. I’m very pleased with the team’s ability to learn a new product and adjust to all the changes as needed.

Special thanks to everyone that worked on the help file: a Marketing Designer, a Web Designer, the Documentation team, the Development team, and the Systems team. While the upgrade required a lot of effort from many people, it set us up for a future of growth using the products and services offered by Flare. I am very proud that I was able to see this project come to fruition and hope to see continued growth in our Documentation products.

By Sara Buchanan