Keep Me Writing! Thanks, Keith

Friday, January 29, 2016

Documentation: Your Road Map to Success

Hello everyone - my name is Keith Johnson (for those of you new to this blog) and I have been working as a Technical Writer for well over twenty years now. I first got my start as an Information Technology (IT) instructor and professor in Brazil where I had to write user guides for my students. Then, when I returned to the States in 1996, I applied those skills to the corporate world where I am still currently employed. As a longstanding Technical Writer with many years of challenging experiences behind me  - here is what I have to say - documentation is your TRUE road map to success.

Let me explain.

In many corporations, documentation is seen as a secondary resource. In other words, documentation is something you do AFTER a system has been created or AFTER a product has been created. This is like putting the horse after the cart. In actuality, documentation can be used as your literal road map to success because all details of a product or system are revealed in the documentation. So, in many ways, documentation should AT LEAST be a parallel endeavor alongside engineering and programming efforts as products and systems are created, tested, and deployed. Documentation loses its impact if it is done afterwards. Sure, you can consult with format product documentation after a project is done and before creating a second version. That is fine. But, better still is when you can use documentation DURING the product or system development process to fine tune details and the actual path of creation. Documentation REVEALS what is going well and what is not going well. Documentation is a true reality check. Documentation expedites your project time-wise and money-wise. Documentation is your wildcard ready to be played.

Cheers, Happy Friday.


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