Documentation Headaches   Leave a comment

Being in software development industry we all usually come across many documentation needs, specially, related to the projects and product – ours or others. If we try to categorize these – yes, for academic interest – they usually fall into two man sections, marketing and technical. Usually, all those documents that a developer, PM, TL or Software Architects read fall into the technical category. All other stuff that a user/customer/client reads is a marketing document.

I’m sure that many may argue on this type of categorization. For many, the documents that describe or talk about an IT system is Technical; either it’s a user’s manual or Administrator’s guide or a High Level Design document.  And, marketing materials are brochures, case study or product Ads.

According my past experiences in reading the IT & related documents, I have developed an affinity to well written, well presented documents, either is it’s a Project Document or a User’s manual. The impression I get white reading the related documents of a product greatly affects my intention of recommending or not recommending it to anyone.

If the doc quenches all my doubts without scrolling up and down, that’s good sign. Many great products (Surely there are many, and they usually don’t need any documentation to work with them – my be you read the help to get some extra) don’t have a good documentation written for them. But they survive because of its wide popularity. There are not so popular products which come with great manuals that compel you to use them and recommend them.

A good technical document itself is a marketing material; they promote the product within its domain because of its ease of use, attraction and completeness. They also improve the internal usage and builds great affinity from its users, in turn making it popular inside the customer organization and increased ROI.

Some studies shows that only 14-18% of customers buy a product as a result of an advertisement. More than 80% buy based on recommendations from trusted source. To build this 80% network, you need to build a great system with good documents.

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Posted February 20, 2011 by jsusmer in mind waves

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