Here are the most common questions from companies looking to engage InfoPros. For more information, please use our contact form, email information@InfoPros.com or call us at 888.235.3231 and we will respond within one business day.
When should I engage InfoPros?
The best time to engage InfoPros is when you are in the midst of change, launching a new product, taking on an employee training initiative or beginning any project that requires supporting documentation. InfoPros can be effective at any stage of a project, however, the best results are achieved when we are consulted early in the planning process. We have the experience and knowledge to help you learn what questions to ask and how to establish a plan and budget, giving you the confidence to know you can get it done.
Early on, we can discuss and provide guidance with respect to your types of source material and the amount of involvement required from your subject matter experts (e.g., your engineers or product managers) and give you an outline of a project schedule.
Can I see samples?
We strongly encourage you to view our extensive library of client work which resides on our Client Sample Site. We provide the capability to search through over 100 samples based upon type of work (e.g., courseware, user guides, Online Help), industry or company. The Client Sample Site is a great way to see the types of work we have done for clients, as well as get ideas for your own documentation and training needs. The Client Sample Site is a secure website that requires an ID and password which can be obtained by contacting us at 888-235-3231 or emailing information@InfoPros.com.
Do you subcontract out the work?
InfoPros does not generally hire subcontractors. InfoPros employees with an average tenure of over five years conduct all writing, technical illustration, instructional design and project management. We do bring in proven outside partners if a specific skill or capability is required that is beyond InfoPros’ core capabilities. For example, we will use a professional voiceover artist for annotating training curriculum or we will engage a programmer to do the programming for a Learning Management System. Likewise, we have partners for language translation, printing and other related services.
In which industries does InfoPros have experience?
The quick answer is many. In the Clients section of our website you can see a list of companies for whom we have worked, in a variety of consumer, industrial, high-tech and services industries. Because we hire employees, versus contractors, we retain knowledge gleaned on each project, giving us a distinct advantage for working with subsequent products and software applications.
Do you have the background in the industry or area of expertise required for my project?
We have extensive experience covering subjects from consumer products such as cell phones and bathroom fixtures to industrial pumps and machines, to software applications and state-of-the-art technology products. While we may not have worked on every specific type of product, service or process, there are few categories for which we have no relevant experience. We will work to ensure that those assigned to your team have experience with technologies or concepts matching or similar to yours.
How is the process managed?
InfoPros assigns each project a project manager who has overall responsibility. Our project managers are senior people, not working managers who are busy writing, developing courseware, etc. The project manager’s responsibility begins with preparing for the kick-off meeting, after which she/he will develop a project schedule and assign the InfoPros team in accordance with the skills needed. She/he also is charged with publishing a weekly status report and keeping the project on track. InfoPros supports the project manager with processes and tools to track — in real-time — each project deliverable, so you always know where your project stands with respect to budget and delivery dates. We know that issues can and do come up during a project’s life cycle. It is the role of the InfoPros project manager to ensure that these issues are never a surprise to you.
What is the lead time to initiate a project? How long does the typical project take to complete?
In most cases, we can begin a project within several business days upon receipt of the services agreement and a purchase order (or equivalent authorization) no matter the size of the project.
There is no meaningful average project length. In some cases, if a client needs something done quickly we pull in extra resources and can turn it around in less than a week; updates to existing documents can sometimes be done in a matter of hours. With other projects, adding resources is not a viable option as there are numerous steps that must be done sequentially, so more time is required.
What type of information do you need from me to get started?
There are two major steps. The first is focused on defining your specific needs and requirements and developing a project scope. This will allow us to make recommendations on deliverables and authoring tools and to develop a timeline and a price for the project.
The second involves the actual project kickoff. It typically will take only a couple of business days for us to assign the right resources to your project to be ready to begin work, provided the necessary resources are available from your organization, including access to software applications or source material (e.g., engineering documents) and/or that your subject matter experts have time for us to conduct the necessary interviews.
Can your work be done remotely or off-site?
Yes, approximately seventy percent of our work is done off-site at an InfoPros facility. Even for clients that are close to one of our offices, we typically do most of the work off-site. This allows us to leverage the tools and talent we have at each of our offices while allowing our clients to focus on their core activities. In many cases, we never go onsite to a client’s facility; the product may be shipped to us or, if software-based, can be accessed via the internet. In other cases, we come onsite as needed. When being onsite at a client’s facility is key to gathering the right knowledge/source material, we make it happen.
What are the best development tools to use?
There is no “best tool” for authoring product documentation, developing courseware for a specific training need or building Online Help. For developing product documentation, there are a number of great tools, each having strengths and weaknesses.
For example, Microsoft Word, the corporate standard, can be a good choice if you are going to have non-technical writers maintain the documents, with some caveats: if the document approaches 100 pages in length, has a complex template, uses a lot of linked text or makes extensive use of graphics or illustrations, Word quickly becomes inefficient; documents can become corrupt and require significant effort to maintain.
If the document being developed is shorter in nature and design-intensive, InDesign is probably a better choice, however, InDesign can be intimidating for new users, requires some setup at the onset of the project and is more costly than Microsoft Word. Adobe FrameMaker is the industrial-strength tool that can handle most any size or type of document, up to several thousand pages. The major drawback is that it is not considered an intuitive or user friendly tool and is more expensive than both Microsoft Word and InDesign.
There are also products that are used in conjunction with XML and other, more advanced technologies (e.g., DITA). We have worked with all of the widely used applications. The same holds true for developing courseware, job aids and Online Help; there are a number of tools and we will work with you to identify which makes the most sense for your specific needs. We have worked with most mainstream tools, know the pros and cons of various approaches and do not resell or promote any particular software.
Can I edit the documents later? Can InfoPros maintain the documents?
Yes and yes; we have clients that have us develop the initial documentation or training material and then assign maintenance of that content to someone internal to their company. We also have companies that outsource everything to InfoPros so that we maintain the source files and coordinate language translations, printing, shipping and other tasks. Other companies handle minor updates themselves but bring us in for major updates (e.g., a new software release versus a dot release.)
What if my documents are confidential or proprietary?
We often work with companies that entrust us with confidential information, typically under a non-disclosure agreement. Examples are yet-to-be released products, proprietary processes and software. Our staff knows that a key part of developing long-term relationships with our clients is that each client’s work is treated as proprietary. We have separate, secure workspaces set up for each client and we require that all client data is stored on our secure servers. We also can ensure that all work products, such as documents, files and digital images, are destroyed or returned to the client upon project completion.
How does your pricing work?
Normally we are able to provide our clients a fixed-price quote. This quote is based on a statement of work that we develop with our client, discussing specific requirements and reviewing applications or existing documentation and materials. We can offer our clients fixed prices in most cases because we have done literally thousands of projects and have metrics that allow us to, in the majority of cases, accurately estimate the effort associated with a defined statement of work.
When there is a certain amount of unknown that precludes developing a detailed project scope, we provide a price range that is reviewed at some defined milestone – typically no more than twenty percent into the project – so that we can tighten up the scope, make any necessary pricing adjustments and provide a fixed price. Finally, if it makes sense to work on a time and materials basis, we do.
Is there a project minimum?
For new clients, yes, there is a minimum charge of $250.
What if I have changes during the course of the project?
Few projects experience no change. Examples are additional topics being identified for an Online Help system or the page count or slides/screens for a training curriculum being adjusted up or down. We anticipate some amount of scope change when we provide the project schedule and price so that not every scope change results in a schedule or budget change. Major changes to the scope or many small scope changes can impact the delivery schedule and budget. The InfoPros project manager will identify the impact of the proposed scope change, both with respect to the project schedule and the budget, and will get client approval prior to authorizing any changes.
Do you provide translation services?
Yes, we provide language translation services for all types of documentation, Online Help, and training materials, to include voiceovers for online training. We have considerable experience developing content in a way that will minimize translation costs and work closely with a partner that does the actual language translation. We handle all coordination and ensure that the process is transparent to our client.
Do you offer printing services?
Similar to language translation, we can coordinate your printing needs, working with several companies with which we have partnered or we can work with your current printer to ensure that your documents are printed with minimal hassle to you.
Who is InfoPros? How long has InfoPros been in business?
For a quick recap, please see our Corporate Profile.