Converting to Flare

My first job at a software company landed me in a software training role. While I learned a great deal about adult learning and best practices for knowledge transfer, my proudest achievement while I was there involved project management.

Our department had a catalog of 160 course manuals. These manuals varied in length from 20 pages to several hundred pages. These were course guides for the various training classes taught by everyone in our department.

The problem with these guides is that they were maintained in a software tool that had not been actively developed or enhanced for 15 years.

With the blessing of my supervisor and department manager, I started testing Madcap Flare and reading all the manuals to learn how to use it. Over a period of a few months, I figured out how Flare worked and what available features we could use to tackle some of the key concerns for our department. These concerns included:

  • reusing content between course guides
  • easing the burden of regular maintenance, like copyright notices
  • standardizing formatting and adhering to a style guide
  • training 25 department members, including the department management, in the new tool

After successfully converting a course guide and working out how to make the best use of global project linking, I planned out the project to get the department to convert all 160 of our course guides from the old tool to Flare

  • created the template project, a global project to store our CSS styles and page layouts
  • used my L&D skills from training webinars to develop a training session for other members of the department
  • created multiple checklists for team members to use when converting a guide or writing a new course
  • managed the entire conversion project for all 160 guides
  • oversaw summer interns who worked tirelessly to tackle many of the course guide conversions
  • served as the help desk for the entire department on how to accomplish tasks in Flare
  • wrote a practice guide for new employees to use to learn how to write in Flare in our department style

After nearly two years, the project was finally complete. All 160 course guides existed in Flare and the department (and company) retired the use of the long-abandoned prior tool.