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Published on March 24th, 2008 | by Rahel Bailie


Eating your own dog food – an industry phenomenon

This is a post of thoughts that trigger some of the things that have been bugging me lately. Some of these were brought to my attention by colleagues of mine; others I stumbled upon on my own:

Eating your own dog food – Consultants aren’t immune from this lesson: the documentation experts who try to get around the content management system by copying files, or who email files back and forth across the office instead of using the internal wiki need to hold themselves to the same standards being recommended for clients.

Flying by the seat of your pants development method – Also known as the took-the-contract-and-am-hiring-some-contractors, hope-they-know-what-they’re-doing method. Makes me shudder, but some consulting firms consider it ethical to take on whatever project comes their way and then wing it.

The “we do everything” solutions companies – They say they offer consultants, but in reality it’s a bait-and-switch operation, providing low-cost intermediates at expert rates. Despite the protest comments on the IT Toolbox blog, I must differ; I’ve seen the results in action.

Corporate cholesterol – I love this name for inefficient internal processes. A friend of mine does a presentation on this that skewers everyone equally. Use email as a meeting planning tool? Create invoices in Excel, then have the bookkeeper put them into the accounting software? Pass documents around using email instead of using a tool that controls versioning? Do you even use a project management tool? Independent consultant, small team, or large organization, why choose a consultant who sticks to old ways of working?

Having just come out of a conference on content convergence, I’ve gone on a new round of seeking out greater efficiencies for my own consulting practice. Some exist; some don’t (yet) or maybe I just haven’t found what I want. But I’m open to collaborating on select projects if it means new skookum software gets out there for public use. Isn’t that the best offer you’ve heard all day?

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About the Author

Rahel Anne Bailie is a synthesizer of content strategy, requirements analysis, information architecture, and content management to increase the ROI of content. She has consulted for clients in a range of industries, and on several continents, whose aim is to better leverage their content as business assets. Founder of Intentional Design, she is now the Chief Knowledge Officer of London-based Scroll. She is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication, she has worked in the content business for over two decades. She is co-author of Content Strategy: Connecting the dots between business, brand, and benefits, and co-editor of The Language of Content Strategy, and is working on her third content strategy book,

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