A couple of days ago, I was a part of a team, working on preparing and delivering a workshop on project management. One of the things that drew my attention during the workshop, was the idea that a PM needs to have both hard skills and soft skills. I thought to myself - how about the technical writer?

Which are the hard skills - methodologies and tools you need to know?

Which are the soft skills you need to build?

Let’s look at the hard skills. These would be the skills you learn by going in a training and getting certified to follow certain processes and procedures in order to achieve a certain goal.

In my opinion, the framework that TEKOM has defined as technical communicators competency framework is such a good example of the methodology you need to follow.

Here is how it looks like:

  1. Context analysis
  2. Planning
  3. Concept development
  4. Content creation
  5. Media production
  6. Publication and distribution

Source: www.technical-communication.org

For software documentation development, the process I use and teach looks like:

  1. Research and collect information
  2. Begin writing down “Dump information”
  3. Begin to structure and organize the information “Draft”
  4. Present to stakeholders and collect feedback
  5. Reflect the feedback in the documentation
  6. Prepare final delivery
  7. Publish
  8. Collect customer feedback and maintain the documentation

I believe that both the framework and the processes for writing software documentation perfectly match.

Is this the process you use too? What is the software documentation development process you follow to deliver the best help to your users?