The Project Scene
You have some information for the new documentation project. Your managers can write, but they’re involved in deployment and sales. So they don’t have much time to work on this new content. The responsibility rests with you. Where do you start?
Or, you have your policies and procedures. And the government agency you follow published new regulations. The agency gave everyone 10 months to update their documents. Your managers have customer-facing projects; they don’t have time to update P&P. Where do you start?
With a needs analysis!
Ask Yourself These Questions
1. What stage is your documentation/content in now?
- Think about the applications the content is in. Word? PDF? A help authoring tool? Jumbled notes?
2. What is the purpose of the content project?
- Will you update existing content to meet government regulations?
- Are you updating content for a re-branding project?
- Or will you create work instructions for a new department.
3. Who are the key players or stakeholders in this project?
4. Who are your users, your target audience?
- End-users outside the company such as external customers?
- End-users inside the company, such as your call center operators?
- The general public?
5. What is the final content and what format will you use?
- Examples: Procedures; work instructions; flowchart; training presentations; white paper, or embedded help.
- Output media examples: Print; PDF; Web Help, or blog.
6. What is your time frame?
7. And the money question: What is your budget?
Create a Successful Documentation Project
You want a successful documentation project. Define the stage of your content now, before you start. Be clear about your goal. Set those parameters in the Planning or Initiation Phase (see PMI). And conduct a needs analysis!