A Documentation Plan is a broad technical writing project plan covering all the execution, schedule, and personnel details.
Once you identify your goals for the assignment and create your audience profiles after the audience, you need to prepare a Documentation Plan.
You need to create a documentation plan to achieve the following goals:
- To plan and track the execution of your deliverables
- To share your execution strategy with design, development, and other teams
- To track the progress of the development teams and change your plan accordingly
- To assign work to the various resources appropriately
You need to prepare a Documentation Plan consisting of the following parts:
- Introduction – It includes a brief introduction about the product/project in general. It describes the features of the current version of the software or model of the hardware.
- Deliverables – This section lists all the documentation deliverables and their formats. For example, you can include Online Help, User’s Guide, and Context-sensitive Help
- Audience – The information generated during audience analysis acts as an input to this section of the Documentation Plan. You can also include some brief information about the audience profiles.
- Requirements – This section lists all the writer’s requirements such as hardware requirements, software requirements, and other technical requirements to complete the assignment.
- Schedules – It includes all the dates and deadlines for the various stages in the life cycle. Document managers need to decide on the dates after consulting the product management team and finding their requirements.
- Resource allocation – It includes the list of writers and the document deliverables assigned to them. Even though this might change during the documentation, it acts as a good starting point for including ownership.
- Stakeholders – This section includes the list of other stakeholders such as the management team, technical reviewers, and members of the quality assurance group.
The Documentation Plan is a working document and must be continuously updated during the different stages of the assignment. You might have to modify the dates to cater to the changing project deadlines as it often happens in typical software development life cycles.