Technical Communication Poll: When to Upgrade the Tools

In the technical communication field, tools matter, because what we do is neither easy or simple but it is important to our organizations’ customers.  Generally when a well-known vendor launches a major release, a great deal of fanfare and hoopla ensues.  Lesser amounts of hoopla accompany interim releases or major releases from smaller vendors, but the thrust is the same. Lots of reasons why we should consider switching, upgrading,  or trying out a new toolset, including opinions from thought leaders and fans, and reviews of said release.  TechWhirl participates in launch activities  by technical communication vendors whenever possible to provide both reviews and important inforomation about the tools that are available.

Unless you’re a technical communicator living in a cave, you’ve probably heard that Adobe launched Technical Communication Suite 4 yesterday. We provided First Look reviews on TCS 4, as well as FrameMaker 11 and Robohelp 10, and we’re planning more in-depth reviews over the next week or so.  It brings us to a question that actually goes beyond technical communication tools. How do we decide when or if to upgrade a system?  When a new operating system, office productivity suite, chat tool, game, analytics tool, etc. comes along, do you (or your company) immediately get a purchase order ready? Or do you look through the reviews and specs and download a trial?  Perhaps you wait for a few months until an interim release or service pack is available?  Will your decision process change with the advent of cloud-based tools and subscription models?

Take a moment to vote in this week’s technical communication poll, and the add your thoughts about why you choose that particular option.  Or cruise on over to the TechWhirl email discussion list and start a thread about when to upgrade, your thoughts on Adobe’s latest, and or your favorite vendor’s toolset and release plans.

When do you decide to upgrade your technical communication tools?

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