Enterprise scale technical writing, or "information development", typically requires many people, working on many aspects of content, across many time zones. At this level, traditional "word processor" tooling simply cannot cope, particularly where more than one person must work on the same or closely related content. By contrast, XML-based information development, where content is divided into discrete information units, solves many of the problems. But not all of them.
In particular, where several people must work on the same files concurrently, or where the timescale for the required work might conflict with other delivery obligations, technical writers can find themselves in situations where updates might be lost or broken.
These are classic problems for software developers, too, and it turns out that some software development techniques can usefully be applied to the problem of managing XML-based documentation at an enterprise scale. Specifically, Distributed Version Control System (DVCS) tooling can be applied to everyday documentation tasks. In this paper, we explain how a DVCS might be used by a product documentation team to help deliver diverse documentation sets, created using XML, for large scale parallel delivery.