Although not everyone reads it, proper documentation is necessary for many fields such as medicine, software design, and construction project. If you have studied a course in the medical domain, you may be aware of Libby Zion’s issue. The girl was admitted to the New York hospital on March 4, 1984, due to high fever and unusual signs of agitation. The physicians attempted to heal the patient by giving her medications that they thought necessary. Unfortunately, at 6 AM the next morning, she experienced a cardiac arrest that led to her death. The issue ended up in a trial after the patient’s father found out her daughter’s situation while in the care of the hospital. According to the New York Times article, the caregivers tied down their daughter, and that the assigned physician didn’t come to the hospital. In addition, the trainees who attended the patient had no proper rest as a result of working 36 hours shift routine.
During the investigation, they have found out that Libby Zion was unable to mention her cocaine use, which did not work well with the medicines that the caretakers gave. This case is just one of the examples that proved that in the field of medicine, leaving even small detail of documentation can lead to unwanted consequences.
With the situation mentioned earlier, you should be aware that a proper documentation plan is an essential item in the preparation of project execution. Simply put, documentation is a set of documents that, usually, technical writers, write or create in the form of hard copies to attain a particular corporate goal. They can also provide and store these documents online or in electronic storage such as DVDs, hard drives, etc. Through a documentation plan, they can develop structured and detailed documentation that follows the goals of the project or an organization.
In general, poor documentation is one that lacks clarity, specificity, and completeness. Whether you are running a software development company or managing a clinical case study, if your documentation has at least one of the mentioned characteristics, it may result in poor decision making, waste of money and effort, and miscommunication between the affecting teams and individuals. Thus, it is crucial to create a strong documentation plan.
If you want to learn to create a useful project documentation plan or software documentation plan, start by taking a look at the following examples.
Now that you know the importance of a documentation plan and how it looks like let us discuss the things that you can do to create better documentation.
By including examples and images in your documentation, the users will quickly understand its complicated areas. A few examples of this technique are organizational chart and set of instructions. With images, you can lessen the complexity of specific procedures.
As we mentioned earlier, the main goal of documentation is to achieve a business goal. Not all users have the same background. If not all users understand the materials, there are possibilities that they will proceed to the process incorrectly. Thus, it is crucial to know your audience when creating documentation. As much as possible, we recommend that you write it using a universal language because even if you know your target audience, the individuals within a team can have different levels of knowledge.
In system development, loopholes can happen. However, it should not be a hindrance to completing a task. Thus, you need to discover these problems and provide a workaround, if not a total solution. For example, you can write down steps on how to recover the lost file due to a server outage, or a database issue. You may also write a set of instructions for the individuals that do not know your system.
Part of software engineering project management is testing the quality of your output. Through the QA testing, you can uncover other possible issues and errors of the system or the product. You can also ensure to attend all its details, especially the small ones.
Many documentation pieces quite robotic for humans in some knowledge levels to comprehend. You don’t need to equalize your work to a novel to produce a humanized document. Just write the way you, a human, speak.
As a businessman, there are specific techniques that you may need to use to attain a business goal, and creating a documentation plan is one of the most basic methods. Thus, you should know how to obtain one or hire a technical writer who can do it for you.