What do you write?

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I’m currently pushing a business case to allow me to hire a new member for our team. The premise is that, particularly with our product set, there will always be areas of technical content that need writing but that with an additional member we can start to create other forms of content.

Which begs the question, what other forms of content can we create?

One thing I would like to get my team more involved with, both to give them a wider view of the product and to help the rest of the R&D team better understand why we build what we build, is in the creation of our Business Requirement Documents (BRDs). These documents drive the product features, setting out the requirements for the new features that we want to add for the next release cycle.

Early on in my career I remember reading (somewhere) that the technical writing team are user adovocates and that we are “the interface to the interface”. With that in mind, we need to understand both why a feature is in the product and how we expect it to be used (or at the very least, how we would like people to use it). By getting involved earlier in the product lifecycle, helping to understand and articulate the business requirements at the start of a release, we can be better placed to act in the best interests of the customer.

Being part of the team that collates and creates the BRDs will place us bang in the middle at the start of a stream of work and, by nature, we are also there at the very end, checking our documentation as the final stages of the release tweak and refine the functionality. My hope is that this end to end view of the product will help both the technical writers, and the development teams in which they are embedded.

Are you involved with early development documentation? If so I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.