If your company is in need of documentation, you might be asking, “Just how long will it take to develop my documentation?” While this may seem like a straightforward question, it’s not a very easy one to answer without knowing the project you have ahead of you. However, here are some factors that can help you answer that question and how working with a technical writing team can set you up with a definitive timeline for your documentation.
Document Development Life Cycle
Writing materials, whether it’s technical writing or a short story ready for publication, is not done overnight. Doing so can lead to sloppy, poor quality writing full of errors, poor sentence structure, and confusing explanations. While it may seem “good enough” for now, this mentality could backfire severely.
When it comes to documentation in a business, clarity is key. Clarity cannot be overlooked. Failing to write clearly and concisely can lead to errors, misunderstandings, injuries, loss of customers, and other problems for your organization.
So, first, it’s important to understand that while you may need your documentation as soon as possible, the writing process is not exactly something that can be rushed overnight. Time is needed to understand your company’s unique needs and wants, write up the materials, and make any necessary revisions after document reviews.
If you have a deadline coming up, it’s essential that you create a timeline for your necessary documentation or work with a technical writing team as soon as possible to ensure any due dates are met.
Of course, the timeline for your documentation also depends on the scope of your project. Work instructions may be written up fairly quickly as they tend to be short, for example, but employee handbooks can take much longer as they cover a larger scope.
Factors that can impact the timeline for your documentation include:
- What is the project that needs to be completed?
- How many pages are needed?
- How much of the project was already started?
- Does the document just have to be edited or does it need to be written from scratch?
- Is research necessary, and how much?
- Are interviews required? When are staff members available for interviews?
- Is content testing required?
- Who needs to be involved in the project? (HR, legal, etc)
- Does the document need to be reviewed for compliance?
Another factor that can affect the writing process are deadlines. While you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to request documentation, any “due dates” could very well impact how quickly your work needs to be completed. For certain projects, such as offshore wind farms, deadlines are extremely strict and technical writers have to adhere to those. Nevertheless, the project shouldn’t be rushed or you could be faced with denials.
Working with a Technical Writing Team Can Give You a Timeline
While there is no clear-cut answer to the question, “How long will it take to develop my documentation?” without knowing the scope of the project, there are ways to get a timeline.
One such way is by working with an experienced technical writing team. Since they have worked with businesses like yours in the past, they have a clear understanding of just how long it will take for them to complete a project from start to finish. A technical writing company will be able to give you a clear timeline of what needs to be completed by both sides of the partnership.
This timeline will include detailed information on initial conversations, interviews, deadlines, drafts, revisions, and the final project’s expected completion date. Technical writing teams can work with you to meet your unique needs when it comes to documentation, while also ensuring your materials are completed before any necessary deadlines.
Technical writing, or any type of writing, should never be rushed. It could impact your core business and even put your entire company at risk if the mistakes are severe. A a technical writing team will provide assurance that your documentation will be completed with deadlines and quality in mind every step of the way.
Want to learn more about how experienced technical writers can impact your profits, productivity, and success? Shea Writing and Technical Solutions has worked with businesses just like yours to fill a wealth of technical writing needs from employee handbooks to manuals for customers and employees. Start a conversation with us today to begin on your technical writing timeline!