Documentation Strategy Explained


2022-09-22 00:00 clickhelp


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Documentation strategy is part of the overall business strategy, which contains the vision of the company’s future. Documentation support is needed to put a business strategy into action. Strategic documents are created to describe HR, sales, and marketing strategies. In other words, a business strategy cannot exist without a vast knowledge base (or documentation base) that serves as its language. Leaving your company without a clear documentation policy, you are actually making your business unclear both to the customers and stakeholders. Defining Documentation Strategy Documentation strategy contains your ideas about what your company’s knowledge (information) base should look like and what goals it should serve. The general idea common for documentation strategies in many companies is that documentation has to be helpful generally in two ways: for the in-house users: documents should be used and re-used internally on a daily basis helping employees to work with routine tasks and assignments and solve minor and major problems in their day-to-day operations for the customers: documents should help customers access products and services and use them most efficiently. Why Do We Need a Good Documentation Strategy? The answer to this question is simple. A documentation strategy should make the most of your internal and external docs. It should improve customer communication and cooperation with business partners by offering clear and comprehensive information supporting each product, project, or step. It should optimize the use of internal resources so that your documentation becomes a real asset that can bring profit to your company. Otherwise, the documentation will remain unused or even undiscovered – a genuine terra incognita waiting for its Columbus. This may sound strange, but the fact is that many employees, top managers included, are often unaware of which documents they already have and which are still to be developed or updated. This often results in clashes between different document revisions and confusion among the employees about what docs to use. As a result, there can be downtimes and financial losses. As a rule, a documentation strategy includes knowledge base management, product documentation, standard operating procedures (SOPs), service-related processes, etc. The most prominent among these are SOPs, as they penetrate all the structure and processes of the company. In practice, SOPs can be any type of documentation, i.e., documents regulating this or that process. At a production facility, an example of SOP can be an instruction on how to carry out the mothballing procedure (how to take equipment out of commission to use it later or to sell). Such a document should include a description of how to deactivate the equipment, evacuate oxygen from the equipment, fill it with nitrogen, etc. However, not all SOPs are as complex as the one above. An SOP can have much simpler content; for example, it can be a document referring to occupational health and safety containing information on how to use a PC at the workplace, what breaks should be made to make such work safe for the eyes, etc. The examples above are internal SOPs or process guides. They can be as many as there are processes in a company. A good documentation strategy should also include documents targeted at customers. The focus on the customers has two main reasons behind it: Customers wish to avoid contacting the product support team – they want to be able to grasp things intuitively or use context help, or get all the necessary support docs, like guides, manuals, etc., by clicking a link (not by making a request to the support); that is why product documentation should be available and easily accessible for the customers; this will increase customer satisfaction, improve UX parameters, and deflect a large number of repeated questions from customers thus relieving the support team. Customers want to know how to use a product and how the company delivers its services. Service delivery processes make the company transparent for the customers; this results in customers’ increased loyalty and trust – these intangible assets will further improve the marketability of the products and services. What Should Documentation Strategy Contain? The content of a documentation strategy may vary. However, it is usually focused on the following key areas: operating model and processes stakeholders inside and outside the company project plan(s) risk plan communication plan. All these areas should be covered with high-quality documentation aimed at supporting the overall business strategy of a company. For example, in the case of a SaaS (software as a service) company, the focus is usually on the product documentation, as this (software product) is what the company sells on the market and what should attract customers. That is why all features of the product are described in full detail. This is achieved not only through technical documentation but also via blogs, and articles posted on specialized sites for professionals where people discuss industry news and share their experience, in social networks, etc. This is done to attract more customers by creating the necessary agenda in the information field focusing on your product. At the same time, the customers become more loyal to the product when they see that specialists carefully explain all the questions they have. Internally, on the company’s in-house level, focusing on the product often results in creating troubleshooting guides. Such documents help the support team operate most efficiently and give the customers prompt and helpful replies in case they have any problems using your product. Ultimately, this helps to enhance the UX parameters of the software product as well. A vital component of a documentation strategy is a tool for determining its efficiency. Without this tool, which should be developed at the early stage of the project, you will never know if the goal has been achieved, and you will hardly be able to move forward to further goals. If your strategy is to increase customer feedback, feedback data analytics will be an adequate tool for determining its efficiency. Namely, monitoring and measuring the feedback parameters, such as customer support tickets, customer requests, bounce rate, likes and dislikes your product gets, and their ratio. These parameters and tools should be specified in the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Whether or not your documentation strategy achieves the defined KPIs is in the competence of the top management. The KPIs are reported and discussed at general meetings, and the MoMs are shared with all the stakeholders. Creating a Good Documentation Strategy If you are developing a documentation strategy, the checklist below will be helpful. Your strategy should include the following elements: alignment with general business goals (documentation should support the current projects and be aimed at the business priorities of the company) list of documents that still need to be created list of KPIs to monitor and measure the efficiency of the strategy communication plan to share the results with the audience inside and outside the company. Besides the elements listed above, your company will need means to implement the strategy. These will include: HR policy: you will need to hire a whole team of technical writers and copywriters (the latter will ‘translate’ technical content into a simple language that a wide audience can understand); you will also need a technical writing manager who will lead the team; it is also advisable to have a knowledge manager (knowledge engineer) in the company who will streamline all the information processes within the organization Documentation management policy: you will need to provide your team of writers with the authoring and publishing tools. ClickHelp is a documentation management platform based on single-sourcing and content reuse. It ensures that all content is traced to the same source of information. It helps to make all documents uniform so that there are no clashes of terminology or different text versions. Сontent reuse implies that authors no longer have to cover and rewrite similar topics. Similar content can be adjusted and used repeatedly in different projects. Main Documentation Strategies Documentation strategies can be classified according to the document management approach applied in the company. Firefighter. Most often, it is the “Firefighter” approach which implies that documents are created only when the company cannot do without them. It means that when a problem arises, certain documentation is developed to provide the employees or the customers with a solution. In-Depth Approach. Another well-known strategy is called the In-Depth Approach. In this case, the product’s features are explained in great detail. This strategy is mainly designed for in-house use, i.e., for the use by specialists whose level of knowledge is very deep. It mostly concerns complex issues. Breadth-First Approach. The opposite of the In-Depth Approach is the Breadth-First Approach. It is used when your tech writers have to cover many issues. This is very hard to achieve, so they have to write a little about everything. The idea is to cover the most relevant topics. You have to think of your documentation outline and then write the content for the aspects you think will be the most popular and plan on “firefighting” in case something else is needed. Conclusion If you still hesitate about whether your documentation strategy is correct, you can ask yourself one question: Is it efficient or not? By efficiency, most business owners mean extra value that your asset can bring to the business. If your documentation strategy is correct, it will enhance all your business processes and make an excellent contribution to the long-term development of your company. Good luck with your technical writing! ClickHelp Team Author, host and deliver documentation across platforms and devices
文档策略是整体业务策略的一部分,其中包含了公司未来的愿景。需要文档支持才能将业务策略付诸行动。战略文档是用来描述人力资源、销售和市场策略的。换句话说,如果没有作为其语言的庞大的知识库(或文档库),业务策略就无法存在。如果您的公司没有一个明确的文档策略,您实际上是在让客户和涉众都不清楚您的业务。 定义文档策略 文档策略包含您关于公司的知识(信息)库应该是什么样子以及它应该服务于什么目标的想法。在许多公司中,文档策略的一般思想是,文档通常必须在两个方面有所帮助: 对于内部用户:文档应该每天在内部使用和重复使用,以帮助员工处理日常任务和分配,并解决日常操作中的重大问题 对于客户:文档应该帮助客户访问产品和服务,并最有效地使用它们。 为什么我们需要一个好的文档策略? 这个问题的答案很简单。文档策略应该充分利用内部和外部文档。它应该通过提供支持每个产品、项目或步骤的清晰和全面的信息来改善客户的沟通和与业务伙伴的合作。 它应该优化内部资源的使用,以便您的文档成为真正的资产,可以为您的公司带来利润。否则,这些文件将没有被使用,甚至没有被发现--一个真正的隐姓埋名的地球等待着它的哥伦布。这听起来可能很奇怪,但事实是,许多员工,包括高级经理,往往不知道他们已经有哪些文件,哪些文件还有待开发或更新。这经常导致不同文档修订之间的冲突和员工对使用什么文档的困惑。因此,可能会出现停机和财务损失。 通常,文档策略包括知识库管理、产品文档、标准作业程序、与服务相关的流程等。其中最突出的是标准作业程序,因为它们贯穿于公司的所有结构和流程。 在实践中,SOP可以是任何类型的文件,即规范这个或那个过程的文件。在生产设施中,SOP的一个例子可以是关于如何执行封存程序的指示(如何将设备从委托中取出,以便以后使用或出售)。这样的文件应包括说明如何使设备失活、从设备中排出氧气、向设备中充入氮气等。 然而,并不是所有的标准作业程序都像上面的那样复杂。SOP的内容可以简单得多;例如,它可以是一份涉及职业健康和安全的文件,其中包含如何在工作场所使用个人电脑的信息,为了使这种工作对眼睛安全,应该休息哪些时间,等等。 上面的例子是内部标准作业程序或过程指南。它们可以和公司中的流程一样多。 一个好的文档策略还应该包括针对客户的文档。对客户的关注背后主要有两个原因: 客户希望避免与产品支持团队联系--他们希望能够通过单击链接(而不是向支持部门提出请求)直观地掌握事情或使用上下文帮助,或获得所有必要的支持文档,如指南、手册等;这就是为什么产品文档应该为客户提供并且易于访问;这将提高客户满意度,改善用户体验参数,并转移大量来自客户的重复问题,从而减轻支持团队的压力。 客户想知道如何使用产品以及公司如何提供服务。服务提供过程使公司对客户透明;这会增加客户的忠诚度和信任度--这些无形资产将进一步提高产品和服务的市场性。 文档策略应该包含哪些内容? 文档策略的内容可能有所不同。然而,它通常侧重于以下关键领域: 运作模式及流程 公司内外利益相关者 项目计划 风险计划 沟通计划。 所有这些领域都应该包含旨在支持公司整体业务战略的高质量文档。 例如,在SaaS(software as a service)公司的情况下,重点通常放在产品文档上,因为这(软件产品)是公司在市场上销售的东西,也是应该吸引客户的东西。这就是为什么产品的所有功能都被详细描述。 这不仅可以通过技术文档实现,还可以通过博客和在专业网站上发布的文章来实现,人们在这些网站上讨论行业新闻并分享他们的经验,在社交网络等。这是为了通过在信息领域创建必要的议程来吸引更多的客户,重点关注您的产品。同时,当客户看到专家仔细地解释他们所有的问题时,他们对产品变得更加忠诚。 在公司内部,专注于产品通常会导致创建故障排除指南。这样的文档有助于支持团队最有效地运作,并在客户使用您的产品时给他们及时和有帮助的答复。最终,这也有助于增强软件产品的UX参数。 文档策略的一个重要组成部分是确定其效率的工具。如果没有这个应该在项目早期开发的工具,您将永远不知道目标是否已经实现,也很难向进一步的目标前进。 如果您的策略是增加客户反馈,反馈数据分析将是确定其效率的适当工具。也就是说,监控和测量反馈参数,如客户支持票、客户请求、反弹率、喜欢和不喜欢您的产品,以及它们的比率。 这些参数和工具应该在关键性能指标中指定。您的文档策略是否达到定义的KPI取决于最高管理层的能力。KPI在大会上报告和讨论,并与所有利益相关者分享。 创建良好的文档策略 如果您正在制定文档策略,下面的清单将会很有帮助。您的策略应包括以下要素: 与一般业务目标一致(文档应该支持当前的项目,并针对公司的业务优先级) 仍需创建的文档列表 用于监控和衡量战略效率的KPI列表 与公司内外听众分享成果的沟通计划。 除了上面列出的要素外,您的公司还需要实施战略的手段。这些将包括: 人力资源政策:你将需要雇佣一个完整的技术作家和文案团队(后者将把技术内容‘翻译’成一种广泛受众都能理解的简单语言);你还需要一个技术写作经理,他将领导团队;在公司中有一个知识经理(知识工程师)也是可取的,他将简化组织内的所有信息处理 文档管理策略:您需要为您的作者团队提供创作和发布工具。ClickHelp是一个基于单源和内容重用的文档管理平台。它确保所有内容都追踪到相同的信息源。它有助于使所有文件统一,从而没有术语冲突或不同的文本版本。ontent重用意味着作者不再需要覆盖和重写类似的主题。相似的内容可以在不同的项目中反复调整和使用。 主要文档策略 文档策略可以根据在公司中应用的文档管理方法进行分类。 消防员。最常见的是“消防员”方法,它意味着只有当公司离不开文档时才创建文档。它意味着,当出现问题时,制定一定的文档,为员工或客户提供解决方案。 深入方法。另一个著名的策略被称为深入方法。在本例中,产品的特性将得到非常详细的解释。这一策略主要是为内部使用而设计的,即为知识水平很深的专家使用。它主要涉及复杂的问题。 广度优先法。与深入方法相反的是广度优先方法。当你的技术作家必须报道许多问题时,它就会使用。这是很难实现的,所以他们必须写一点关于一切。这个想法是要涵盖最相关的主题。您必须考虑文档大纲,然后为您认为最受欢迎的方面编写内容,并在需要其他东西的情况下制定“消防”计划。 结论 如果您仍然对文档策略是否正确犹豫不决,您可以问自己一个问题:它是否高效?大多数企业主说的效率是指你的资产能给企业带来的额外价值。如果您的文档策略是正确的,它将增强您的所有业务流程,并为您的公司的长期发展做出卓越的贡献。 祝你的技术写作好运! ClickHelp团队 跨平台和设备编写、托管和交付文档