Technical Challenge: Creating a Product Encyclopedia

Background
SAP Campbell specializes in workforce automation software, in particular labor scheduling and time and attendance management.

StaffWorks® (a product of SAP Campbell) is an advanced labor scheduling system with proven results in decreasing payroll costs, increasing floor coverage and improving both customer and employee satisfaction. It converts scheduling from a necessary, tedious, clerical function into an analytical, business management process.

The Challenge
The process flows, screen displays and messages that StaffWorks displays are based on how an organization implements and configures the product. To aid in compliance and user acceptance, some organizations like to customize the support documentation that their users’ see. Giving their store manager users just the information they need to get their jobs done. Other organizations don’t go through the work to create custom documentation for internal use.

StaffWorks is a very large application. How do project leads at an organization become familiar enough with the application to understand what pieces they need to cover for their implementation? And when project leads do not want to create custom documentation, how to make the full document accessible enough for users to locate the detail they need?

The Solution
I created an encyclopedia containing every process, screen image and message that a user could see when running StaffWorks. The project teams at the retailer organization could then cut and paste the information they needed from the master set to create the version they would need to meet their specific needs.
To ensure the document could be used when not customized, I:
  • Broke each process into procedures
  • Titled each procedure so that it could be located in the contents
  • Created an extensive index covering each message, screen and procedure

I also used the text from the documentation as the source for the on-line help ensuring consistency between the two deliverables. (A purist note: I did not like the print/pdf format constraints from the help software so I opted to have the text in two separate files rather than using one file as a single source.)

Here is a link to the StaffWorks User’s Guide.

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