When it comes to writing technical documentation, several skills and talents are required to produce successful results:
- A deep understanding of the product.
- A solid grasp of how the product is used and applied by the clients.
- An understanding of why your clients use the product.
- The ability to write logically and clearly.
- The ability to organize and structure in a sensible way.
- Attention to detail.
Attention to detail means noticing everything that might be important to at least some clients some of the time, capturing that information, then presenting it in a clear, complete, concise, accurate and precise way.
Accuracy means that the material is correct.
Precision means that everything is explained in detail, with no room for misinterpretation, missing out on a step, etc.
Engineering design, software development and technical writing have many things in common – I’ve done all three. Everything on the list above applies to each of these endeavors.
Attention to detail is the foundation to producing a great manual.