A technical documentation document is a document that describes product information and detailed data about the handling, functionality and use.
You might be wondering what technical documentation is, but it's difficult to describe. It's an umbrella term that refers to a wide range of technical documents that explain the use, functionality or development of a given product.
Ideally, technical writing should be clear and simply convey key information about how a product works.
Technical documentation is incredibly important in the project management, product development and software development worlds. It's often put together by specialized copywriters and technical writers, but can also be written by project managers, programmers, testers, developers or other development team members.
Pro Tip: Tech writers and project teams usually choose between Agile and Waterfall approaches when writing their documentation, sticking with their choice throughout the development process.
A wide range of documents can be referred to as technical documents. Broadly speaking, they can be separated into two categories: product documentation and process documentation.
Product documentation, sometimes referred to as user documentation, explains what a product is and how to use it. It's normally used by end-users, but can also be handy for stakeholders, programmers and engineers to delve further into a product's technology. It encompasses things like:
On the other hand, process documentation is made up of documents that outline a product's process of development. It usually stays internal and reports on the different stages of a product's lifecycle. It includes documents such as:
The term technical documentation is intimidating to many, but it doesn't have to be that way. Done correctly, it's a great resource for developers and users alike. It:
Whether you're providing software documentation or product documentation, technical documentation helps end-users solve their own problems. When you deliver clear, helpful documentation, you empower users to use online help and cut down on a lot of common frustrations. Your team will also spend less time answering questions.
Keeps Development Teams In The Loop
When working on a software product (or any other kind of product), things move fast. Establishing an effective content management system and delivering consistent, clear technical documentation help keeps everyone informed and on track.
Pro Tip: By using a template that can be updated in real-time like Slite's, your documentation can act as a knowledge base. That way, developers can continually refer back to it and always have the most up-to-date information.
Prompts Important Questions
Put simply, technical documentation gets everything down on paper. It brings the most important information about your product development to the forefront, making sure questions get asked and problems get resolved when they need to be, rather than brushed aside.
If you're ready to begin writing your own technical documentation, Slite's here to help you get started.
Forget about looking for stray documents spread across Excel sheets, Microsoft documents, internal wikis and Adobe files. Slite keeps all your information in one place where it can be easily updated and accessed by anyone on your team.
Oh, and did we mention that our technical documentation template is free, incredibly easy to customize and looks great across all devices and browsers?
Here are our top tips if you want to get going on technical documentation for your product:
Create A Documentation Plan
Before you get started writing, establish some structure that'll help guide you in your documentation process. Decide what your documentation will cover and what it won't, doing research as necessary. Always make sure that your plan aligns with your product's needs.
Establish Documentation Guidelines
Many different documents will make up your technical documentation, and they should all have a consistent appearance and style. This includes things like font, writing style, design, formatting and more. Using a template can help with this a great deal.
Determine Your Audience
Last but not least, there's a significant difference between the kinds of documents that are written for end-users and documents that are written for developers. Be sure to determine who will be reading your documentation early on in the writing process. If you do so, it'll be much easier to decide what content to include and what language to use.
That's it! You're ready to get started writing technical documentation for your very own product. You'll be providing your users and team members with invaluable help and guidance in no time.