Professional writers are more experienced and can produce documentation faster. In CHL’s case, experience in developing documents which really communicate goes back to the early seventies. Owning and using the latest software tools enables CHL both to advise clients and gain the experience necessary to provide a faster service.
Items produced by highly motivated professionals are not only produced more quickly, but in the long run are nearly always less expensive. Don’t panic about day rates – look at the project cost!
Staff who are assigned writing tasks they do not like tend not to produce professional documentation. For example, programmers generally do not like documenting the systems they have produced and this almost certainly has contributed to the general reputation of some computer manuals. A good technical author has a great deal of respect for a good programmer or technician and earns respect by describing the product in a more accessible way than the technical expert or Subject Matter Expert (SME).
The essential element
The fact is that managers and customers very often judge a product by its documentation. Documentation must exist and the better it is - the easier the sale! Witness the problems experienced with the manuals of some far eastern products.
“If it is not documented – it is not a finished product!”
Setting documentation standards is a specialist task and once established will help your colleagues and staff to have a clearer view of the project. It also provides a consistent image demonstrating quality and customer care. Does your organization have universal standards for using your chosen word processing or presentation package?
Ease of maintenance
It is easier to maintain something that is well designed and built. If it applies to structured systems and programs in the IT world, then it certainly applies to all forms of documentation.
Provides JIT Training
Just-In-Time - a phrase originally applied to distribution but now very applicable to documentation. Face-to-face Training is relatively expensive but a good user guide, a context-sensitive Help system or an Intranet / Internet system can provide crucial JIT training enabling users / operators to help themselves, reducing support costs and increasing productivity.
To read about CHL’s approach and the types of documents we can produce for you, see the other parts of this Documentation section from the menu on the left.