Documentation of work performed by your team members, including developers, designers, and administrators, is indispensable for your company’s seamless operation. Effective documentation initiatives can lead to significant improvement in operational efficiency and reliability. Moreover, having comprehensive documentation in place can help new hires quickly adapt to their role and make valuable contributions to the team.
On the other hand, insufficient documentation can be more problematic than the absence of documentation altogether. Poorly written documentation can create obstacles for users to understand and execute necessary changes, and this can disrupt progress until the issue is resolved.
Moreover, the benefits of well-documented software are not limited to engineers alone. Your company can utilise documentation for various purposes, which include but are not confined to:
- Instructions for operating a computer system
- Training modules for working with different types of equipment
- Workflow-related processes
- Recommendations for implementing the best practices in general
- Onboarding of new employees
- Personnel management and employment-related processes
Allocating time for documentation can prove extremely advantageous for your business, as it can curtail wastage of resources and time by preventing misunderstandings and delays in the future.
Hence, what measures can be taken to boost the quality of documentation delivered by your developers? Let’s explore some possibilities together.
Establish Record-Keeping Processes
It is imperative to commence improving documentation by initiating this initial stage. Whether you aim to develop fresh documentation or revise existing material, it is vital to establish lucid instructions for both the process and the end result.
It is essential to determine the content that needs to be incorporated in the documentation, identify the intended target audience, select suitable tools for compilation, address feedback appropriately, decide on the employment of version control system (such as Git) and ascertain adherence to a particular style guide.
Once these instructions have been formulated, it is crucial to stick to them stringently in all written materials produced.
Avoid using Passive Language, if possible.
It is crucial for developers to recognise the significance of active voice in creating documentation, which can guarantee clarity and brevity. In contrast, passive voice must be avoided, as it has the propensity to diminish the readability, coherence and efficacy of the text.
To differentiate between active versus passive voice easily, reflect on the following example:
- Bob ran a marathon as an active action.
- By using passive voice, we can say that a marathon was run by Bob.
In writing, it is generally preferred to use active voice, where the subject performs the action (such as “Bob ran a marathon”). On the other hand, passive voice entails the subject being acted upon (such as “A marathon was run by Bob”).
It is vital that every sentence in your documents communicates the necessary information in a simple and clear manner. This will guarantee that the reader does not become confused or have to make an effort to understand the content.
Utilize Fascinating Headings
Documentation of production quality is a critical aspect, and should be given equal importance to other forms of content writing. To steer the reader’s journey and establish realistic anticipations, incorporate captivating headings. In the age of information abundance, most individuals tend to skim through the content. Therefore, headings (and subheadings) that seize the reader’s attention can make the reading and understanding process much more engaging and delightful.
We greatly recommend all attempts to reduce the burden of paperwork for those who are obligated to produce it.
Avoid Using Technical Language
To make sure your headings are impactful, it is crucial to avoid excessive dependence on industry-specific terminology. This is especially relevant in the technology industry, where not all readers may be acquainted with the most recent buzzwords and acronyms.
When documenting, keep in mind that the reader may not be well-versed in the subject matter or technical vocabulary employed. Documentation should explicitly describe the functioning and usage of something inside the organization. Overuse of industry terminology and acronyms by engineers may cause trouble for those delving into the documentation to understand the content.
Whenever possible, it is strongly recommended to incorporate images in manuals, particularly when issuing instructions for a graphical user interface tool. Using visual representations of graphical components can be more impactful than explaining them in text. The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is particularly applicable when it comes to documentation.
Create and Depend on Diagrams
To expedite the documentation process, it may prove helpful to provide your developers with documentation templates. With a structured document for reference, they should be able to complete the task with great efficiency.
Incorporate all essential information in the templates to guarantee uniformity and facilitate the production of final documentation. Use templates as a guide for engineers through the documentation process; simplification will increase the probability of creating documentation that satisfies your requirements and readers’ needs.
Elaborate documentation is crucial to the triumph of your business. According priority to an efficient documentation protocol will make the process seamless for all stakeholders, including developers who generate the documentation and users who depend on it to comprehend the content with ease.