For decades, Xerox Creative and Technical Communications group (CTC) has been the internal Xerox unit that produces most, if not all, documentation for Xerox products. The organization writes, translates, and publishes documents. They deliver manuals, on-line and embedded help files, and training materials to both equipment end-users and service personnel. This chapter describes a work practice relationship that has endured across multiple studies and an external client engagement.
Our relationship with CTC began in 2003 when the research group was studying publishing practices and approached the internal organization as the subject of the study. After an in-depth study of the authoring and publishing areas of the CTC group, we were asked to continue the study by reviewing an authoring system that was being developed and evaluated.
Following a long tradition of document innovation, CTC was trying to restructure their document creation and lifecycle management to reduce development times and cost of producing documentation. We uncovered a mismatch between the expectations of the managers and the workers with these new tools and processes. In 2006, members of our team did a follow-up study to assess their progress. At this point, CTC was working diligently to implement an authoring system similar to the one we had seen earlier.
As part of our standard practice, we presented our findings to the collaborators within CTC. They found the material unsurprising, as we had hoped, but useful to explain their work to outsiders and management. They had a long history of innovation in documentation development.