Monday, April 14, 2014

Uniform Documentation Policies and Procedures (Part One)

[This is meant to be a series of posts that will illustrate the importance and the process of creating a set of uniform documentation policies and procedures for a large organization that has many physical locations.]


Uniform documentation policies and procedures are vital to any organization.




The creation of documentation is often formatted differently, created with different tools, are stored in a variety of locations and use inconsistent terms throughout the organization.

One obvious improvement to the creation and utilization of documentation includes creating, modeling and using a style guide throughout the organization.

 
This style guide should be created by the departments and approved by management.  This will increase transparency and "buy in." 

Another, less obvious improvement to create a uniform and efficient documentation system throughout your organization is to have a classification style guide as well as a writing style guide.

This will ensure that documentation is stored in the proper location and can be accessed/found easily in times of need, or for review.

I will talk about two distinct aspects in this post:

1. Creation of standards and procedures


Descriptions of set of  content creation tools

Descriptions of Storage tools

Description of content creation tools and storage locations

 
2. Develop training & materials for staff on writing technical documentation:



Guiding Principles: 


Training of staff using standards and procedures developed from user needs assessments, interviews and current departmental best practices

Training is individual to department, but uniform in standards and procedures.
 
Starting with objective/learning outcomes:

Trainees will know the correct place to create and to publish documentation.

Trainees will understand the difference between publishing and creating content and which tools to use for each process.

Trainees will know how to maintain documentation and how, when, and where to archive or destroy obsolete documents.

Trainees will understand the need for accessing documentation on a variety of formats, e.g. Mobile devices, etc….

Trainees will understand the importance of using a variety of formats, e.g. video, tutorials, etc….

Everyone has their own learning style/s and best practices dictate that information be presented in a variety of formats to increase the reach of the documentation.  



To be continued...


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