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Publications > Dateline Houston > May 2003 > Feature Article


Volume 42, Issue 9

May 2003

STC Houston Competition Roundup

by Deborah R. Crockett, Documentation Project Manager, Hewlett-Packard Company,
and Deborah Silvi, Technical Publications Manager, BMC Software

This year's STC Houston Technical Art, Publications, and Online Communication competition offered several new activities. In light of the economy, we lowered our entry fee. In appreciation of our corporate sponsors, we treated them to the banquet, at no cost. And we also developed and initiated a judging survey.

The survey was developed to find ways for improving the way STC Houston manages the competition judging. The survey was sent to all competition judges, and it asked the judges to provide information such as which competition they judged; whether they attended the judging workshop and/or the judging party; and their level of satisfaction with those activities.

STC Houston wanted also wanted to know the number of entries judged by each team; the number of times the teams met to discuss their evaluations; the level of communication the judges felt they received from their team lead; the level of support judges received from their judging manager during entry distribution and return; as well as the usefulness of the judging and award forms. The survey ended with a request for suggestions.

The survey revealed the following information:

  • More than 50% of the Technical Publications and Online Communication judges did not attend the Judging Workshop.
  • Technical Publication judges and Online Communication judges evaluated four to six entries.
  • 13% of the Technical Publications teams judged independently and never met while 50% of them met via e-mail or phone; the other 50% of the Online Communication teams met face-to-face.
  • More than 50% of the Technical Publications judges attended the Judging Party while the majority of the Online Competition judges did not.
  • Almost 50% of the Technical Publications judges who attended the Judging Party helped select Best of Show; while less than 33% of the Online judges helped select the Best of Show.
  • Most Technical Publications and Online Communication judges felt they received good communication from team leads about judging and evaluations; however, 30% of Technical Publications judges felt the communication was not very good, while only 9% of Online Communication judges felt this way.
  • Most Technical Publications and Online Communication judges felt they received good communication from team leads about information entry distribution and return; however, 20% of Technical Publications judges felt the communication was not very good, and no Online Communication judges felt this way.
  • 92 to 100% of the judges and team leads were satisfied with entry distribution.
  • Most Technical Publications and Online Communication team leads felt they received good communication from judging managers about judging and evaluation information; however, 25% of Technical Publications team leads felt the communication was not very good, and no Online Communication judges felt this way.
  • All Technical Publications and Online Communication team leads felt they received good communication from judging managers about entry distribution and return.
  • 80% of Technical Publications judges and team leads were satisfied with team communication, and 100% of Online Communication judges and leads were satisfied with this.
  • 100% of the Technical Publications judges felt the evaluation and awards forms were usable, but only 79% Online Communication judges felt their forms were usable.
  • 86% of Technical Publications judges were satisfied with the Judging Workshop, and 100% of Online Communication judges were satisfied with this event.
  • Online Communication and Art judges rated judging communication, forms, and process a little higher than Technical Publications judges.
  • Technical Publications and Art judges were more satisfied with the usability of the judging/evaluation forms than the Online Communication judges.
  • Technical Publications and Art judges were more satisfied with the Judging Workshop; Online and Art judges were more satisfied with the Judging Party.

In addition to providing suggested questions for next year's survey, those surveyed gave ideas for improvement. The suggestions included:

  • Give the teams more time to evaluate the entries.
  • Ensure that team leads have more information about what is to take place at the Judging Party (The name is kind of a misnomer. It is a party to show appreciation for the judges' participation, but it is also a working session.)
  • Ensure that the Judging Workshop provides more information about judging entries rather than a review of the forms and an opportunity to pick up entries.
  • Ensure that team leads are properly trained and judges are given more information.
  • Revise the evaluation forms to make them simpler.
  • Provide judges with a timeline or a schedule.

All in all, the 2002 STC Houston Technical Publications, Art, and Online Communication competition was a success. Looking forward, there is always room for improvement.

 


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