Ask Questions First


Vital Questions You Must Ask Before Documenting Anything

Nine Secrets Revealed by Terry Marsh

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At the very top of the list – look for the effects on your bottom line! Just how much will you increase your profits by envisioning, then implementing, an outstanding strategy to create and maintain clear, concise, cost-effective technical documentation and business literature, thus bringing about a visible increase in your sales or a significant reduction in costs?

Won’t your faithful customers, warm prospects, loyal management and staff feel impressed by the crisp copy and lucid diagrams in your new or updated documentation? Embrace them all by satisfying their hunger for information.

What will bring about the greater benefit to your organization – the effects of increased staff efficiency, brought about by appropriate and timely documentation of your business processes and procedures – or the market value added to your company by thoroughly documenting your systems?

We are all affected, to an increasing extent, by burgeoning legal and regulatory requirements. Can you afford to take the risk of non-compliance? Think about the technical documentation or business literature you need to create or maintain to satisfy these requirements.

How much time have you and your staff spent this week in trying to hunt for vital information? Optimally structuring your documentation library and each individual document within that library will greatly help you in finding your way through the mire and will turn that information into an immensely valuable resource – otherwise it remains a chaotic morass to get sucked into!

Writing coherent technical documentation and business literature is specialized work – do you have all the resources you need in-house to make a good job of it? Consider whether you have the right people with the right skills and experience, who also have enough time to complete the task within a reasonable time frame and to satisfactory quality standards. Lighten the load on your shoulders by handing your documentation tasks over to documentation professionals.

Have you considered that you might need specialized documentation tools and techniques? It’s unlikely that you or your staff have the time or the inclination to research the latest developments in the documentation field. Can you hazard the dangers of using inefficient methods, thus significantly increasing costs?

Won’t your staff will be that much happier and therefore that much more productive, if they have up-to-date, clear, concise, cost-effective technical documentation or business literature to work with? You know that poor or non-existent documentation can cause major problems, such as expensive mistakes being made, customers being lost, health and safety or security being compromised, staff morale being undermined and so on.

Be aware that good documentation is about good communication – before, during and after you undertake your documentation project. How can you best get in touch with your management and staff to help them grasp the importance of good documentation and what is entailed in creating and maintaining it, before you bring in the specialists?

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