Poor project management has a major impact on technical documentation. In other words of you don’t listen to me, we will be up to our necks writing and managing techdocs while everyone else has their feet up and enjoying a few beers. This article delves into the intersection of project management and technical documentation.
Put a plan around a project or a project around a plan.
Without a proper project plan, technical documentation is at risk of failing.. Those without experience tend to alter objectives and add to the project without heeding the technical writer’s experience and advice..
Documentation alone cannot replace a plan, but it can aid in rescuing a struggling project. Taking the time for documentation analysis can help the project by reducing risks and increasing quality..
Experienced technical writers may become frustrated when the project timeline is unrealistic. This happens when:
- working with staff members who have no experience working with documentation and assume it’s a straightforward task
- unworkable deadlines that sacrifice documentation quality and lead to frustration among internal parties
It is worth bearing in mind:
- Rely on the TA’s knowledge to schedule technical documentation and establish a timeline.
- Writing or migrating content is not an instantaneous process; a failure to work with the writers could lead to counterproductive problems.
- If the timeline is genuinely tight, develop a list of documentation priorities for users to adopt the product.
A typical breakdown for a technical writing project includes:
- Research the underlying technology and related issues required for the documentation effort.
- Dedicated time for writing.
- Dedicated time for editing. Copy editing and editing for style, clarity, and other issues.
- Dedicated time to review the technical accuracy of the documentation. Never assume that a document is correct. Always create review time for accuracy by SMEs.
Allow sufficient ramp-up time
Technical writers need sufficient ramp-up time to become versed in the product. While ramp-up time is relative, depending on the writer, a project manager can support the writer:
- Supply the technical writer with the hardware and software quickly..
- Provide the system access, usernames, and passwords.
Ramp-up time for technical writers is beyond the learning curve.
Review the reviewers
As a technical writer, it is important to maintain the accuracy of your documentation. Include the time for technical reviews in the project schedule..
- Scheduled time for technical staff, project managers, and other reviewers to review the documentation.
- Time for the technical writers to add the revisions to the documentation.
Can project managers and technical writers get along?
Technical documentation of superior quality necessitates the involvement of technical writers. Effective collaboration between project managers and technical writers can cause improved design and customer support.. Having customers who can solve their own problems without contacting customer support can benefit a company.