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Do Technical Writing projects need a Documentation Plan?

Gordon McLean asks: do you plan to review your plan?

This is in relation to the Documentation Plan (aka Information Development Plan) that most technical writers prepare in advance of starting a major project. Granted, on smaller projects you can get away with this if you know the product, have the resources and the deliverables are nailed down.

But, his point is that the plan itself should be reviewed/updated during the project lifecycle. Or, at least, that’s how I read it. Continue reading Do Technical Writing projects need a Documentation Plan?

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Audience Analysis: Power Tools for Technical Writing

Documents fail for many reasons. One common mistake is to adopt a ‘one size fits all’ approach to your audience. This works only when generic material, usually of a non-technical nature.

When discussing Audience Analysis, David McMurray points out that, “for most technical writers, this is the most important consideration in planning, writing, and reviewing a document. You “adapt” your writing to meet the needs, interests, and background of the readers who will be reading your writing. Continue reading Audience Analysis: Power Tools for Technical Writing