Each publications team member was in charge of a different division within the Department of Workers' Compensation; mine was the Disability Evaluation Unit.

It being pre-wireframe days, Deloitte—the EAMS contractor—was only able to provide a paper-based prototype. It consisted of binders full of specifications and mock-up screenshots. No demo software existed that would help provide an understanding as to how the system would function when completed.

When it came to writing the disparate training manual sections, our team was in the dark. And few Deloitte people were available to consult with us.


I mulled the problem over for a few weeks while we met with DWC subject matter experts (SMEs) and learned how workers' compensation claims are handled.

My experience was unique among the publications team. It included having been a:

  • very early adopter of Microsoft Windows (mid-'80s)
  • former value-added reseller of Windows software
  • Windows beta tester and technical editor
  • software reviewer and author for Windows periodicals
  • managing editor, researcher, writer, and producer of a monthly Windows tips newsletter
  • Windows instructor and seminar presenter
  • developer of enterprise-level Windows scripts (using WinBatch)

After studying my binder, the lightbulb went on—I was able to deduce how all of the pieces would come together and how the system would handle claims adjudication. This I eagerly shared with the team, enabling us to meet our publishing deadline.

At that 11th hour, I was one of two volunteers to remain through the early morning hours to apply the finishing touches. Taking pride in my own work—and knowing no one else had done so—later that week I was able to proofread and edit the ~700-pp. deliverable as a matter of quality assurance.