Planning a Technical Documentation Project

Proper planning is essential to the successful delivery of a documentation project. And a good plan must clearly define the following:

  • Purpose of the documentation and its scope
  • Project schedule
  • Resources responsible for content development and project co‑ordination
  • Final deliverables

From my experience with documentation projects, here are some questions that I have found useful in project planning. Answering these five basic questions helps define the purpose, scope, and schedule of a documentation project.

  1. Why are you creating the documentation?
  2. Who are you creating the documentation for?
  3. What is the documentation about?
  4. When is the documentation to be delivered?
  5. What resources are available to aid in delivery?

Understanding why and for whom you are creating the documentation helps you define the purpose and objective of the documentation. What the documentation is about helps you define the scope and allows for better content management. The timeline (when?) for the documentation delivery and the resources available (including human resources, authoring tools etc.) help determine a realistic schedule.

Also, here are four additional questions to consider:

  1. Have you completed similar projects in the past and are there existing materials that you could leverage? (Templates/content that could be reused)
  2. How can project progress be monitored and reported effectively?
  3. What are the possible risks and constraints?
  4. How do you establish guidelines for communication with fellow content developers, content reviewers, and stakeholders in the project?

I hope you find this information helpful, and if you need assistance with your technical documentation project, please reach out. My team and I would be happy to assist! 

About the Author

Surya Nair

Technical Writer and Editor<br><br>Surya has been writing and editing technical content for over two decades in multiple industries. How do you transform complex technical content into an easy-to-understand document? Ask Surya - technical writing is her passion! She has been with ASCENT since 2018. She holds a master’s degree in English Literature, and a diploma in Journalism, and is a certified Technical Writer.

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