It is true that the engineers that developed your system know it best. But is it true that they can document it best? If they have the time and talent, and you have the budget then perhaps the answer is 'YES.' But, there are other decisions to be made as to how best to document your system. What document type best reflects your system's capabilities? What document type meets the needs of your system's end-users? Would your end-users benefit from a training-focused document?
MSD's solution would be a 2-Phase approach: Start with our Technical Documentation Consulting service (Phase 1) to formulate an approach and receive a proposed suite of technical documents for your consideration. Then, follow-up with our Project Outsourcing service (Phase 2) where the MSD team completes your documentation task(s) that you selected from our proposal.
MSD’s Plan: If your technical documentation tasks are already defined, then (2) MSD will be happy to be your vendor for accomplishing the outsourced technical documentation projects.
It is a common occurrence to be asked to provide a suite of documentation along with the system being developed. It is likely that your customer is planning on certain roles supporting your system once it is delivered and wants the documentation ready to support those roles. As an example, a System Administrator would want a System Administrator’s Manual (SAM) or a System Trainer would need a Trainer’s Manual and a User’s Manual. Sound like common sense? It often is exactly that….but not always.
MSD’s solution would be to have our Technical Documentation Consultant take a close look at your system and determine where the vulnerabilities are with respect to the documentation. Absolutely, you want to give the customer what they ask for, but there are methods to developing the documentation that will (1) save you money, (2) support your development teams and processes, and (3) show your team the value of developing the “Internal” documentation along with the “External” documents that the customer wants.
MSD’s Plan: (1) Bring in MSD’s Technical Documentation Consultant to develop a plan to meet your objectives in light of your budget, staffing and time-lines.
Don’t make the same assumptions that your competitors are making. “The system is self-documenting,” or “We will document it when the development work is done.” Taking a static approach to a highly dynamic process never ends well. Set a plan at the very beginning and make it clear that your documentation objectives are set. Then, be sure that you have the people to understand your objectives and establish a process that moves you closer to those objectives every day.
MSD’s solution is to send you our Technical Documentation Consultant to understand the problem, work to give you options, then pin-down a plan that will get you to where you want to be. Once the plan is agreed upon, MSD’s staff technical writers can then get the work completed while aligned to the plan and within the pre-determined project scope and budget.
MSD’s Plan: (1) Bring in MSD’s Technical Documentation Consultant to develop a plan to meet your objectives, then (2) either outsource the documentation tasks to MSD or (3) let MSD’s writers complement your team to accomplish the documentation tasks.
There are always last-minute challenges to getting the documentation ready for final delivery, but those last-minute tasks should be minor if your delivery date is coming up fast. If your documentation review is bringing to light major concerns that could delay your product’s delivery, then it may be time to take a closer look at your process.
MSD’s solution is to take a critical look at your processes to determine where your documentation processes can be made more efficient. When syncing the documentation process to the engineering development, there are many issues that can arise, but may not be too difficult to resolve. But, for the urgent matter at hand – MSD’s Technical Documentation Consultant to give your documentation issues a quick assessment and propose a plan that your customer may appreciate.
MSD’s Plan: (1) MSD’s Technical Documentation Consultant can assess your documents and establish a plan and approach for getting your documents ready for delivery.
Engineering development is always a challenging environment with moving deadlines and multi-tasked engineers just trying to keep the projects moving. And, when your engineers are expected to produce the documentation for each system, they are going to take the “quick and dirty” approach to get it done so they can move on to the next engineering task. If that’s the case, you probably should not set your expectations too high.
MSD’s solution is to formulate a “game plan” with your management team to understand what your objectives are and to see what your engineers are documenting. They may be documenting some of your objectives, but not all. Or, if they are not documenting anything at all, then it may be because they don’t have a clear objective. MSD’s Technical Documentation Consultant can provide you with a clarity about the documentation tasks and the burden that each could bear upon your best engineers.
MSD’s Plan: (1) MSD’s Technical Documentation Consultant helps you establish a documentation plan, then (2) MSD’s team of technical and engineering writers will take on your outsourced projects to completion.
Most projects are best documented with a combination of internal and external documents. Depending upon the complexity of your system, your technical writers may either be over-tasked or simply not well-versed in developing the more engineering-focused documents needed to deploy, maintain or troubleshoot the system. And, since developing those engineering documents can follow an entirely different process than a user’s manual or the training documentation, you may find it more efficient to have your developers work with an engineering writer.
MSD’s solution is to assign an engineering writer with the most-appropriate technical background to the task of developing those needed engineering-level technical documents – all while collaborating with your knowledgeable engineer.
MSD’s Plan: Provide (3) the best engineering writers MSD has on staff to meet your task needs.
An organization’s approach to technical documentation is often determined by the project manager or the customer, so having a resource that is already registered as a vendor and under contract can be ready to go when a task arises – saving money and time. And, it takes time for a vendor to become familiar with the client’s needs and their product-development environment.
MSD’s solution is to get acquainted now with our clients to include learning about their products and the types of documentation that would like to provide to their customers. MSD can register with your organization as a vendor and provide to you a briefing about our services and capabilities so that we are prepared to perform your documentation tasks when you need them.
MSD’s Plan: (1) Discuss your future technical documentation needs with MSD’s Technical Documentation Consultant to see if we can get an agreement for services established now to prepare for the future.
If your organization is providing a product or system to a specific customer, that customer will typically request a documentation package that meets their needs, but it may not meet your needs. Of course, their requirements take first priority, but a comprehensive documentation package may also help you support your customer over the long-term.
MSD’s solution is to have our Technical Documentation Consultant meet with your management team to see where there may be overlap between the customer’s requirement and your team’s objectives. It is always true that you want to start the documentation tasks as early as possible, so let’s get started as soon as you know your Statement of Work (SOW).
MSD’s Plan: (1) Discuss your technical documentation objectives with MSD’s Technical Documentation Consultant to see where the documentation can be structured to meet both your customer’s and your internal needs.
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