Planning user documentation when you are a startup business

1,356 views
1,201 views

Published on

Slides from my presentation at Technical Communications UK 2013 conference

0 Comments
2 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Views
Total views
1,356
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
473
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
0
Comments
0
Likes
2
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Planning user documentation when you are a startup business

  1. 1. Ellis Pratt Planning user documentation when you are a startup business Friday, 27 September 2013
  2. 2. Overview About startups How they differ What’s good and what’s bad Project planning Clean sheets and chaos What should you be developing and measuring to see if it all works? Friday, 27 September 2013
  3. 3. About Startup Businesses Friday, 27 September 2013
  4. 4. A typical startup Optimism of building the perfect system Not always sure what they will build “Live R&D” Create a “minimum viable product” Plans may be in flux Friday, 27 September 2013
  5. 5. A typical startup Unclear of what documentation they need May not have experience of creating user documentation Friday, 27 September 2013
  6. 6. Startup funding Funds may come in stages Funds may be limited Funds may rely on the system being documented Time may be limited Uneven workload Friday, 27 September 2013
  7. 7. Startup culture Wants to create a company culture, with staff working closely together A focus on identity & image Heroes “The curse of knowledge” Image: Heisenberg Media Friday, 27 September 2013
  8. 8. Project Planning Friday, 27 September 2013
  9. 9. Capability Maturity Model 1. Initial - chaotic, ad hoc, individual heroics 2. Repeatable - repeating the same steps may be attempted 3. Defined - there are standard business processes 4. Managed - there are agreed-upon metrics 5. Optimizing - there is deliberate process improvement Flickr image: charlesfettinger Friday, 27 September 2013
  10. 10. Market share strategies Big player Niche player Friday, 27 September 2013
  11. 11. Big player Economies of scale Supply chain Friday, 27 September 2013
  12. 12. Capability Maturity Model 1. Initial - chaotic, ad hoc, individual heroics 2. Repeatable - repeating the same steps may be attempted 3. Defined - there are standard business processes 4. Managed - there are agreed- upon metrics 5. Optimizing - there is deliberate process improvement Friday, 27 September 2013
  13. 13. Niche player Nimble Bespoke Friday, 27 September 2013
  14. 14. Capability Maturity Model 1. Initial - chaotic, ad hoc, individual heroics 2. Repeatable - repeating the same steps may be attempted 3. Defined - there are standard business processes 4. Managed - there are agreed-upon metrics 5. Optimizing - there is deliberate process improvement It’s less clear Friday, 27 September 2013
  15. 15. Could you be the project manager? Can take a step back Not so emotionally attached to the code Can represent the user Image:Atlassian Friday, 27 September 2013
  16. 16. Who is the audience? You may only have one level of user at the beginning - Early Adopter Image: Dumbledad Friday, 27 September 2013
  17. 17. What is the purpose of the documentation? Often to get people to install it Explain a new or an unfamiliar concept or terminology Provide a professional image for the product Image: Stormkatt Friday, 27 September 2013
  18. 18. A cognitive design for User Assistance Users’ questions & strategies Community, user generated content Users’ questions & strategies Community, user generated content Users’ questions & strategies Community, user generated content Body of knowledge Why isn’t it working? Body of knowledge What is a good choice? Body of knowledge Training Friday, 27 September 2013
  19. 19. Screencasts Can work well for advanced users Can be produced quickly Can get out of date easily (but see the vendors) Friday, 27 September 2013
  20. 20. You might need to work backwards We have x days and £x, what can we do within those restrictions? Friday, 27 September 2013
  21. 21. You need to ask the usual questions What is stable/unstable? Which concepts do you need to describe? What are the key tasks? What are the deadlines? What is the budget? Image: Emma Jane Hogbin Friday, 27 September 2013
  22. 22. Time management Friday, 27 September 2013
  23. 23. Key stages in an IT project Initiation Specs and design Build Test Launch Post launch Friday, 27 September 2013
  24. 24. It can be iterative Initiation Specs and design Build Test Launch Post launch Friday, 27 September 2013
  25. 25. Agile startups “Document late” to avoid waste Friday, 27 September 2013
  26. 26. Initiation Specs and design Build Test Launch Post launch Traditional starting point Traditional doc plan Friday, 27 September 2013
  27. 27. How do we avoid running out of time? Friday, 27 September 2013
  28. 28. Initiation Specs and design Build Test Launch Post launch Ideal starting point Doc planning Write fiction Friday, 27 September 2013
  29. 29. Traditional doc plan Info gathering Prototype 1st draft 2nd draft Final draft Friday, 27 September 2013
  30. 30. One piece flow Instead of batch processing even though it’s counterintuitive You’ll spot errors much more quickly Image: Geoff Rixon Friday, 27 September 2013
  31. 31. Publish by topic? 1st draft 2nd draft Final draft 1st draft 2nd draft Final draft 1st draft 2nd draft Final draft Friday, 27 September 2013
  32. 32. Other advantages of topic-based authoring You can re-use content You can rearrange content Image: Kai Weber Friday, 27 September 2013
  33. 33. A staged rollout Release topics as they are written Prior to product release? Staged release Early adopters happy to work out some things themselves Friday, 27 September 2013
  34. 34. Tools Friday, 27 September 2013
  35. 35. Tools They can often be a barrier SMEs cannot create, review or edit the drafts in the tool Image:The ItalianVoice Friday, 27 September 2013
  36. 36. Removing the barriers and bottlenecks Get SMEs to contribute Consider a wiki Technical Writing Company Friday, 27 September 2013
  37. 37. Reviewing drafts MadCap Contributor Adobe Acrobat reviews Wiki CMS Image:Atlassian Friday, 27 September 2013
  38. 38. Measuring if it works Friday, 27 September 2013
  39. 39. Why measurement matters “If you can't measure it, you can't manage it.” The way you're measured has a great influence on how you're managed and assessed. Friday, 27 September 2013
  40. 40. Measure to discover what adds value Track what users do next User ratings of topics Benchmarking against support calls Friday, 27 September 2013
  41. 41. Publishing Put it on the web so Google can find it People will search the web Use web analytics Friday, 27 September 2013
  42. 42. Summary Friday, 27 September 2013
  43. 43. Summary Start early Be prepared to compromise Get others in the team engaged Measure, learn and educate your colleagues Friday, 27 September 2013
  44. 44. More information Friday, 27 September 2013
  45. 45. For more information ellis@cherryleaf.com @ellispratt Friday, 27 September 2013
  46. 46. Questions? Friday, 27 September 2013
  47. 47. End © Cherryleaf 2013 Friday, 27 September 2013

×