What will you need from me?
We work with clients where they are and often progress their documents from blank pages or a collection of disjointed source documents to a finished product that communicates clearly and aligns with your company’s standards. We work from the outset of your project to define the best documentation strategy for your project and to create a schedule that allows us time to complete the full scope of work within your timeline. We assist you in determining the best structure, format, and wording for your document and in assigning time to review source documents and conduct interviews and collaborative working sessions.
Once you’re convinced that Shea can help you meet your documentation needs, you probably want to know what your role in the process will be. Our document development process includes working collaboratively with our clients, who have confidence in our expertise, and keeping the lines of communication open.
1. Work collaboratively.
The first thing we need from clients is a commitment to work collaboratively. At Shea, we work with clients whose expertise aligns with ours as technical writers. Your team has a high level of knowledge about your processes and procedures, and we want to work with you to create documents that work for you and the end user. You are the expert in your field, and you hold the knowledge we need to create outstanding documentation for your company. Part of our process is capturing your knowledge on paper and making it accessible to your audience.
We bring a wealth of experience in working through the process of taking scattered information (both written and through SME interviews) and creating a polished final document. And what we ask of you is dedicated time to resolve any questions or comments about content and to approve various drafts of your documents. With our involvement, your time commitment will be significantly less than if tackling a major project on your own, but we do rely on your expertise to confirm information and verify that we are working toward a final product that aligns with your expectations.
2. Have confidence in our skills.
The best working relationship is one where both parties are considerate of each other’s time and value the skills the other can bring to the table. We respect your expertise and want to work with you to create documents that capture your high-level knowledge. Our expertise is in creating documents with the end user in mind that communicate clearly and effectively in a format that is visually appealing and accessible. We also provide a fresh set of eyes to identify potential gaps in information, and our editors are diligent in seeking consistency in every small detail, from grammar to spacing to capitalization.
Our clients trust us to make suggestions about formatting, language nuances, and content clarity because that’s our area of expertise. We value that trust and have a clear understanding of how our abilities align with your knowledge to enhance your documentation.
3. Communicate promptly and regularly.
Part of working collaboratively and respecting the knowledge our clients possess is communicating frequently throughout your project. We ask upfront for timely responses to requests for information to keep your project on schedule and avoid lag time between discrete tasks. From the project planning phase, we work with you to establish clear expectations about document goals, including the end users, any company-specific formatting or style guides, and the best way to reach you as questions arise.
Open lines of communication help us to make your project meet your vision. Without clear communication of expectations up front and throughout draft iterations, our goal to create the best version of your document becomes a moving target. We work with our clients to eliminate excessive emails and phone calls establishing the best methods and timing of communication with each client. By keeping a clear line of communication open and respecting everyone’s time by responding promptly, we keep your project moving forward.