Project managers and technical writers, two distinct roles. One of my many skills as a technical writer is organisation. We juggle many tasks and switch between them with ease. People skills are important as we speak to coders, engineers, and technicians of various shades. In the meantime, we manage a ream of documentation while taking instructions from SMEs. Occasionally we meet a project manager who has had minimal exposure to technical documentation as part of a project.
If you lack experience planning the technical documentation component of a project I suggest you consult with your technical writer. A working collaboration between project managers and technical writers can help organisations reap the benefits of the project (because it’s documented), and provide better internal and external support through documentation.
If you are one of the many Project Manager who has never worked with Technical Writers, remember we are professionals. We will not tolerate the viability and quality of the technical documentation to satisfy the needs of others.
So, if you have no direct experience with documentation or Technical Writers consider:
- Talk with your TW(s) because their experience will provide you with a much-needed background in document management.
- To help plan the documentation, avoid creating timelines as you progress the project.
- TAs cannot pull documentation from a hat or generate a document from code.
- Speak to the TW(s) to gauge how long it will take to review/write/edit a document. In my experience, many project managers overestimate the timelines or worse underestimate the deadlines. Always build in flexibility to allow for problems in the documentation process
- Reviewing a document intended for transformation containing more than 20 pages plus will take time (the general rule of thumb is one hour per page).
- The time required for writing
- Peer reviews
- Time to have the content technically reviewed