The four necessary steps to craft a technical document are Plan, Write, Review, and Deliver.
Have you ever gone to the grocery store without a list? Unless you have an excellent memory, chances are you will forget something you needed to buy, which is why a grocery list is so crucial. You must think about what products and supplies you want and check what you have in stock, to see what is lacking. Then, you write that all down on a piece of paper and you are ready to go.
The process of crafting a grocery list is how you should approach a technical document. You need to plan before you start. Gather all the necessary information for the assignment from the client, Subject Matter Expert (SME), colleagues, internet searches, etc. The more information you obtain, the better you will understand the subject matter and the time you need to complete the assignment.
While you’re shopping, the grocery store may be crowded and hectic, but if you stick to your grocery list, you will be as efficient as possible. Likewise, if you have planned correctly, you can complete the technical writing document with ease and confidence because you understand the full scope of the assignment. Write away and don’t hold back.
When you wait in the checkout line at the grocery store, you may review the items on your list and make sure you have everything in your cart. Often, you realize you forgot the peanut butter because you did not write it on the list. So, you get out of line and get the peanut butter.
The review process is much the same for a technical document. You must review the document yourself, and then send the document to the client or SME for review. The client or SME may suggest changes or point out something you forgot to add to the document, just like how you forget to write peanut butter on the list. All you need to do is make the necessary changes to complete the technical document.
Delivery is the most straightforward step. Go home, restock your groceries, and enjoy the food. For a technical writing assignment, triple check the document, send it to the client and enjoy a job well done.