President’s Column: Traditions

It’s hard to believe, but the holiday season is upon us already. It’s been here for me for a few weeks already, watching all the Christmas movies on the Hallmark channels.

Monte and I have also already been to Frankenmuth with my sisters and sister-in-law, for my 21st annual pilgrimage to the festive Bavarian village in Michigan. With the World’s Largest Christmas store, world famous chicken dinners, and the yummiest cupcakes I’ve ever tasted, Frankenmuth has become a beloved tradition in my family. I invite you to check out the photo album:

Do you have favorite holiday traditions? I’d love to hear about them. Drop me a line at

Do traditions mean that we keep doing everything as we always have done them? In my work, I have traditional manuals that we probably will have for some time to come. When someone asks us for a manual on a product, a full PDF usually covers every aspect of that product.

Recently, though, I spent some time helping out with software testing. Even though I thought documenting software was a form of software testing, I found that I was needing to use my documentation in a whole new way, as a user would. For example, I wish that I had just segments of documentation instead of full manuals to search through.

Even though I write topic-based documentation, and every piece of information can be published separately, I found that I have been struggling to distribute just pieces of information to clients. It’s been an ongoing challenge for several years, and even bigger challenge when clients are not able to access the internet.

It’s time for some new traditions. We have been exploring new options, and have a learning management system and knowledge base in the works. Soon it will be a tradition for clients to view short videos and quickly access short topics from a distributable application. We hope they enjoy these tidbits of information, as much as I like my Frankenmuth traditions.

Some traditions go on for years, or decades, or even longer. Some traditions lose their appeal over time, getting replaced by new traditions. If my sisters and I had not decided to go to Frankenmuth all those years ago, or try the yummy cupcakes when that bakery opened, we would not have these traditions to celebrate.

Speaking of celebrations, be sure to join us on Thursday December 12 as we celebrate the holidays once again at Burntwood Tavern in Lyndhurst. This was a great event last year and promises to be fun again this year. Who knows? We may have an annual NEO STC tradition there!

I hope that you have some happy traditions to look forward to as well. No matter what you celebrate, and how you celebrate it, may this season fill you with warm memories, peace, and joy.

By Tricia Spayer