Writing technical documentation is no easy feat. The objective of technical documentation is to explain a product or service in simple terms, while avoiding loads of jargon. Whether it is due to a staff member being tasked to do the job suddenly, or an expert creating a jargon-filled document only understood by their colleagues, or you may be new to technical writing and you are trying to do it yourself but unaware of all the key components that make a useful technical document. Regardless of your expertise or your reason, here is some basic information to understand how to create technical documentation.
Who creates technical documentation?
Industry experts tend to create these types of materials. A technical writer should and usually writes technical documents. However, it is commonplace for companies to use in-house staff that is available to create any necessary documents at a moment’s notice. Whether they are qualified or not. For other businesses hiring a technical writer may be an added expense so they too write their documents. Those who can hire a technical writer have the knowledge and skills to make high-quality technical documents users can fully understand because they can interpret and unpack complex subjects into information that is easier to digest. Also, they collaborate with subject matter experts such as developers, engineers, project managers, and others within the company to help assist them in producing functional and straightforward documents.
How to write technical documentation:
Readers need to understand how a product or service works. So, it is important for technical documentation to be clear and concise. Also, technical documents must constantly be up to date and be accessible to users in all devices and formats to remain useful. Technical documentation is dynamic documents that are constantly changing and that always need editing.
What is a documentation checklist?
A documentation plan checklist will help outline and manage the development cycle of a technical document. You can apply this guideline when making documentation for a product or software. Moreover, here are some questions that should be on your checklist to help create a technical document.
- What is the goal or the purpose of the documentation project?
- What needs to be documented?
- Who is the target audience? And what are their needs?
- What are the deliverables?
- What type of format?
- How will the documents be published or distributed?
- What software will be used?
- What style guide, templates, visual design, or additional conventions will be used?
- Who are the members of your project team? And their roles?
- What are the risks?
What are the stages of creating technical documentation?
There are two ways in which to create or develop technical documentation. The waterfall methodology is first. Moreover, the waterfall approach is more traditional and formed in stages. Once you complete a stage in the development cycle, you can move on to the next one..
The stages of the waterfall method are:
Requirements, Analysis, Design, Development, Testing, and Maintenance.
Agile is the second methodology, and it involves sprints. Sprints are short cycles about how to complete a project. Sprints require constant testing and communication among project teams, customers, and executives. This helps you determine what is successful and what is not. Then you can make appropriate adjustments until the desired outcome is achieved. Businesses prefer agile over the waterfall because they can respond quickly to any abrupt changes.
Agile is the second methodology, and it involves sprints.
The stages of the Agile method are:
- Inputs from executives, team, customers, and users followed by
- Product Backlog
- Sprint Planning Meeting
- Sprint Backlog
- Scrum Master
- Daily Scrum Meeting
- Sprint Review
- Finished Work
- Sprint retrospective
What tools can help create technical documentation?
The type of document will determine what tools you will use making the overall process of writing technical documents easier, faster, and simpler to create. These tools can vary from authoring tools, desktop publishing tools, graphic editing tools, and more. As technology continues to advance so have the tools for creating technical documentation.
In conclusion, the creation of technical documentation requires thorough planning. No matter who you are, whether that is an expert or a novice if you do not know or understand all the key aspects of developing technical documentation, you will not produce high-quality material that helps users improve the success of your business. Lots of people believe they can create their own documentation, but it is no easy task. However, our technical writers have years of experience in communicating clear and simple messages.
Whether you need a team of consultants to produce a complete line of documentation or a single technical writer for a brief project, Essential Data’s Engagement Manager will lead the project from start to finish. At Essential Data Corporation, we guarantee the quality of our work. Contact us today to get started. (800) 221-0093 or email@example.com
Written by Kimberly Jones