Monthly Archives: October 2016

Contributing to Mekon’s Bitesize on Business Rules – 2: Why You Need to Be in Control of Your Business Rules

(A note beforehand: This post is attributed to both Business Rules and S1000D blogs on this site, since the post and especially the article referenced in it, relate strongly to both topics in equal strength. This means that subscribers to both blogs will receive the notification on this post twice, once for each blog. I apologize in advance for this inconvenience.)

Discover of how and why business rules are vital to your success in this second article I have contributed to Mekon‘s Bitesize series on S1000D Business Rules.

This article is about what can go wrong if you are not in control of your business rules. It also underlines the importance to have a good understanding and overview of your business rules’ current status and its relation to the current state of your product or service.

Click here to go to the article.

Picture: like in music also in business rules you need to control all the “tones”.


(Photograph © under key-phrase “to be in control”)

A new S1000D blog category with a strange name – A Fiction Writer’s Musings on S1000D


Recently, I self-published a book and I made a presentation. These two events, or rather the whole creative thinking connected to them brought me to this idea. To start a new category on my S1000D blog called “A Fiction Writer’s Musings on S1000D”.

It might appear strange, but if you have seen my presentation at this year’s S1000D User Forum in Seville you might be able to guess why.

A year or even a month ago, I might not have been sure myself what this is all about, but now I am convinced that this is a good idea.

The epiphany came when I exclaimed in a discussion in a break between the forum’s sessions in Seville, “Data modules are so much like scenes in a novel!” And after that I couldn’t stop the flow of realizations. “Just as scenes, data modules have a start (for a procedural data module it is preliminary requirements), an end (close-up requirements) and one setting (a unit or assembly). And in a way just like the scenes in a novel they tell a very short and self-contained story, or a future short story, that is how the given procedure is to take place.”

The previous statement during the presentation I made at the S1000D User Forum in Seville this year, claiming that technical manuals are books, whatever format they are in or however interactive they are, only strengthened this flow of parallels between books in general and S1000D conformant technical publications in particular.

After the User Forum I jotted down a list of topics I could think of when relating S1000D and its constructs to story-telling, and I came up with seven of them immediately.

Already at the User Forum and also after, during the training courses on S1000D, I started bringing up these parallels and the result was inspiring. Aha reactions and wide smiles of finally understanding a complicated topic. And I felt that after bringing such parallels forward, about the matter I love so much to those who start dealing with it and dread it (like I did twelve years ago), I felt that they began to like S1000D and the ideas behind it or at least started to look at it with curiosity.

So yes, this is the main reason and motivation behind this category: to take fear from such a substantial and multidimensional standard, and also to show its brilliance and again multidimensionality as well as also connect it to what we all already know and love, story-telling.

I wish both, you and me, an interesting, curious, fun and valuable journey on this yet unpaved ground.

Copyright © 2016 by Victoria Ichizli-Bartels

When Two “A”‘s Exchange Places within “Manipulate” – Which Comes First: Acquisition or Attracting Users/Customers to the Product?


I am on the way to finish the second self-edit and revision of my book introducing Business Rules and explaining its importance for any kind of business. You can see the very first and raw draft of it here.

During this second revision I realized that something didn’t work. I discovered that I had put acquisition (of both tangible and non-tangible means) for a given product or service before the planning the user interface and before marketing the product.

This sequence does have its justification when we talk about concrete actions. You need first to acquire the necessary manpower, knowledge, tools, supplies, etc., before you can develop your product or service, create a corresponding user interface, and finally when it is ready, you put it on the market.

But this is not true when it comes to planning. When you plan something, then you first need to have a good idea how your product is going to look and feel like when used. And even before that you would need to identify your customer base, which is the first and foremost part of marketing.

On the other hand you will have to perform a number of acquisition actions before your product or service can go into design phase. You would need certain hardware and software, and your team or yourself would need to acquire the necessary skills.

While the product or service is being designed, and even when created, produced and maintained, the user interface will change its appearance and functionalities, which will call for the appropriate action while marketing and further acquisition.

So I guess all the above may have contributed to my confusion on what to put first when defining a product’s or service’s business rules: business rules on user interface and marketing or what is necessary to acquire for this product or service to exist.

I think the main and also quite exciting challenge can be concluded as follows. When you define your product’s or service’s business rules, you are in a way already implementing your product or service. You might find yourself acquiring not only the necessary knowledge about your customer base but also practically at the same time getting the needed team together, the necessary hardware and software to develop your app. You might not wait with all that until you declare your business rules released and official in their first version. Or you might. It is up to you.

P.S. An interesting observation. There is only one letter, which repeats in the word Manipulate. This is “A”. Curiously, I have confused the position of the types starting only with this letter and not with the other ones.

Copyright © 2016 by Victoria Ichizli-Bartels

Why I Love S1000D and Love Serving its Community – Coming Back from an Inspiring S1000D User Forum 2016 in Seville, Spain

Almost two weeks ago I entered the Melia Sevilla hotel, where the S1000D User Forum 2016 was taking place, and felt many butterflies fluttering inside me. I realized that I saw one good old friend, then another, then another. I haven’t seen them for three years, since the User Forum in Vienna, so I hurried to give them all big hugs, even before checking in properly in the hotel.

I simply love S1000D community! And this love is as multidimensional as the Specification itself. The brilliant and inspiring forum made me once again contemplate why I am so deeply devoted to this community and this technical standard.

This is what I realized.

The people developing this standard are probably the happiest, the funniest and the most fun “nerds” I have ever encountered in my life.

S1000D nerds (I hope they will forgive me calling them nerds; I am definitely one of you, guys!) address each other quite often “Dear S1000D lovers” in their e-mail exchanges. They exchange a lot of e-mails drawing each other into hot discussions about various elements and attributes, or codes and values, referring jokingly to those discussions as SHET (S1000D Heavy E-Mail Traffic), which is by the way an official abbreviation in the standard.

I love helping people and I guess this is in our human nature, or nature of a living being in general. But I realized, I feel especially rewarded when a happy nerd enjoying his area of work gives me thumbs up for what I have done. And let me tell you, S1000D nerds are happy! You will notice it when you see them at the conference debates, working group meetings and especially at the bars in the hotels where they meet.

At the User Forum in Seville, I’ve been blessed to receive this kind of happy reward and praise for my latest book “S1000D Issue 4.1 Untangled”. I was simply thrilled, when my colleagues in the community exclaimed, “This is exactly what we need! It should have been done a couple of years ago! I always said this is the way to go!”

Then they appreciated my presentation, which introduced the study I made in the book as well as connected the world of a writer with the S1000D world and made parallels between books (both fiction and non-fiction) and S1000D conformant technical publications.

Now only a bit more than week after the User Forum I see the results of the word of mouth. I get e-mails of colleagues saying that they purchased the book and joking that “it better be good.” I see on my account on the CreateSpace (a book on demand printing company) the number of books sold growing.

And then my colleagues are simply happy to share the information about what I do further. Because they think this good. I couldn’t stop smiling when I watched this video by Mike Ingledew about the giveaways he gathered at the User Forum.

Here is the thing. I feel exactly the same way about the S1000D community and its members. I appreciate so much what they do for our common goal.

If you subscribed to this blog, then you will probably know what goal I am talking about.

But if you are new to this, then late me highlight why I think S1000D as a field to learn and work in is so exciting.

A modern technical manual reflects the multiplication product of all processes in a product life cycle.

S1000D is about technical publications and yes, it can be applied to other manuals to. But its value is that it gives structured answers (like no other standard) to the multidimensional requirements of a technical manual. A technical manual today, which often is an interactive electronic product (whether standalone or a web-application), allows you to order missing parts for your product, learn how to operate it, how to maintain and discard it. It also gives clues what skills you need to have to be able to carry out certain activities on  the product described by the technical manual.

Above that S1000D, with its emphasis on re-usability and interoperability, strives for a wide variety of functionalities and options and at the same time also strictness of their definition. Surprisingly enough (and in spite of its authors still not being quite satisfied), I think it does allow both in a very good extend.

There is still a lot space for further development of the Specification and study of how the new mechanisms effect its implementation.

So you won’t be surprised about my plans to not only continue contributing to S1000D development by being the chair of the Business Rules Working Group and overtaking a number of actions there, but also by continuing to work further on resources for the community.

First of all, I started to work on a new S1000D book. It will be devoted both to Issue 4.1 and 4.2. Basically, it will be a new edition for Issue 4.1 plus all the entries mapped to the future Issue 4.2 as well. Right now I am working on enhancing Issue 4.1 information in the book. As soon as the Issue 4.2 is published, I will analyse how much changed there in respect to Issue 4.1 and point these changes out. I hope to publish the new book before the User Forum in Amsterdam in June next year. Wish me luck. 🙂

Above that I will start a new S1000D blog category soon, to continue drawing parallels between fiction and a technical manual produced in conformance with S1000D. But more on this in the future posts. (Yes, I admit to have added a cliff-hanger here. 😉 )

But let’s come back to now. Or actually further back. But not too far. What are you memories of the User Forum at Seville this year, if you were there, and if not, what are you memories and experiences of a User Forum or an S1000D working group meeting you participated in last time? Why do you love this community and this topic?

Picture: Beautiful Seville after the second full day (September 28) of the S1000D User Forum 2016.

Copyright © 2016 by Victoria Ichizli-Bartels


Brief September/October’16 News from Opitmist Writer

I miss sharing my thoughts or news about my writing.

You have probably seen my writing progress here on this site, either as “Cheerleading for Writers” or new categories in the Business Blog, as well as restructured, simplified and improved website.

But I haven’t written about my writing quite in a while. Neither in separate newsletters.

I thought I had to send the newsletters only as letters to my subscribers and not post inside my blog. It’s interesting how most of us try to fit in some standards even if we fool ourselves by thinking that we are rebelling. Does rebelling itself have standards? Is the standard for rebelling the breaking of all other standards? But what are those other standards to break?

Do I have to break standards at all?

Now that I think of it, Yes, there are standards to break. But maybe they are not quite standards, but rather limits that I set up for myself, which I mistakenly consider to be standards.

I really liked sharing my Newsletters as blog posts, and sharing in them what I have been up to lately. Thus, in respect to Newsletters I am coming back to what I like doing. Writing them as short blog posts, once in a while — the while often being about one month.

So in respect to writing, this is what I have done up to this point and since the last Newsletter. I finished the very, very first draft of my future book “Cheerleading for Writers”. If you follow the blog series on “Cheerleading for Writers” you might wonder how this could be, since I have published so far only until including the letter S. This is because I allowed myself to continue writing without editing, which is necessary before publishing the posts on my website.

So now I am editing the remaining articles and will post them as I make progress with incorporating the changes on the paper onto the computer screen. I do this work in frames of the 5 Minute Perseverance Game I love playing for many of my projects and about which I have written a small book structured as a board game description. Thus the posts might appear in unequal intervals since the articles are of difference length. A spoiler alert for the article starting with T. It is quite long. 😉

I’m looking forward to discover how my project games change and develop, and what limits/standards I set for myself, as well as how I break them to create new rules.

And I am curious to hear about your breaking of standards and changes of something you have thought was so well established you forgot to question it, until your heart pushed or pulled you “by your ears” through those brick walls of the limits you’ve set up for yourself. What are those? If you don’t want to comment on them here, but still would like to share them with me, then feel free to write to my e-mail address:

Picture: Who said that you need to destroy a thing completely in order to create something completely new and fresh? Look what the Australian street art artist Guido van Helten, has created out of a silo of an old asbestos cement factory in Aalborg. He decorated it with wonderful and powerful portraits of workers from this factory.IMG_1367