Unlike different types of writing, the mantra of generating a technical document is reusability. Although the core context of content can be modified, the best technical document can be created by reusing or remodeling the material previously available. Technical documents vary with nature and the domain that you are writing for. But every company have their style guide and format you need to abide by. Though it is an arduous journey, the end result is worth it. Without wasting much time, let's dive into these five steps to help build your technical document;
Review the style guide and related documents: This is a very crucial step. For generating standard content, every company has its style guide. Style guide guides you through the framework of the content, roadmaps to build a document, self-verification techniques, and grammatical rules that you should stick by. This is where the concept of reusability is applicable. You follow the basic outline and try to adapt the content likewise.
Adapt with the document generating tools: Learn to use the necessary tools you need to make a technical document—for instance, DITA, Sphinx, and many more.
Identify your domain; Identify the area that you are writing for or will write. Before documenting any product, make sure you have core knowledge of the product in and out. Spare some time to understand the functionality and objectives to be met. You can consult developers, quality engineers, engineering managers, product owners, head architects, and so on to get the guided overview.
Try it out for yourself: After you get a definite roadmap to accomplish your technical document, use the available version of the product. Remember, you will be guiding your customers with a detailed stepwise process they need to follow to get something done. For instance, if you are preparing a stepwise guide to install the product ABC. You should install the product ABC beforehand; you start documenting the installation method.
Self-review and verification of the content: After preparing the document, self-reviewing, that includes; checking the grammatical accuracy, validating the steps written, and sentences that generate false interpretation have to be done. You need to confirm the content of the document with your engineering managers or product owner before sending them out for the final review.