Documentation Plan Template (Traditional)

Editors Note: This traditional documentation plan is one in a series of templates to help readers plan and manage communications and content management activities, resources and deliverables. We welcome ideas and suggestions for other Template Tuesday materials.

Template Tuesday - Traditional Documentation OlanDefinition:

The Traditional Documentation Plan is used to schedule and allocate resources to create and maintain technical content deliverables for a specified project or product. The plan describes the audiences, content types and output media, and provides a schedule for development and completion of deliverables.

Purpose:

The documentation plan allows the content development members of a project team, or technical communications staff to plan, create and deliver documentation (or technical content) that aligns with the goals of the project or overall business goals. Use it to estimate the human resources required, and the timeline for the overall production of deliverables. By aligning the documentation plan with overall project planning, including scope and objectives, the content team can ensure that deliverables are accurate, complete, comprehensible and usable by the intended audiences, and that the project has taken content requirements into account in managing the overall effort

Relevance:

This particular plan is best suited to product development and projects that adhere to traditional Waterfall or Hybrid product development methodologies, and aligns particularly well to formal project management methodology, especially in driving out contingencies and resource requirements.

Because of its sequential nature, the traditional documentation plan is not well-suited to Agile methodology, although some of the overall concepts such as use cases and personas may be transferable.

Using the Template:

  1. Download the Word (.docx) file and save to a local location.
  2. Customize headers and footers, as well as other styles according to your company’s guidelines.
  3. Consider drafting the documentation plan during the Discovery phase of the project to identify high-level requirements.
  4. Complete the Overview sections and Outline and a rough draft of deliverables during Project Planning phases, and solicit input from other project team members.
  5. Draft the Detailed Content Plan and Timeline and Deliverables sections of the plan as early in the planning and requirements gathering phases as possible. Recognize that the plan will go through several iterations as project requirements and audience analysis work is completed.
  6. Use metrics to calculate resource requirements. Review the Managing and Measuring Interdepartmental Communication Requests article, and download the tracker to help you get a handle on your content creation resource requirements.

Do you have other documentation planning templates that you find particularly useful? Are you in Agile development environment and have tools for planning documentation that aligns with Sprints? Feel free to contact us and submit your templates.  We’ll provide credit to you for assisting the TechWhirl community and contributing to Template Tuesdays.

Download: Traditional Documentation Plan – template (Word)

Got another Documentation Plan template? Contact us and we’ll add it here.

Connie Giordano

Connie Giordano is a partner in INKtopia Limited and editor of TechWhirl's Tech Writer Today online magazine. She has been a list member and contributor since the days when 14,400 baud was high speed communications, and Windows 95 was state-of-the-art.

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