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Agile Technical Documentation Style Guides with Dr Anu Singh, Technical communicator and speaker of Fiserv

Agile Technical Documentation Style Guides with Dr Anu Singh, Technical communicator and speaker of Fiserv

Last updated on Jan 21, 2021

Dr Anu Singh, Technical Communicator and Speaker at Fiserv, joined us in this episode of Knowledgebase Ninja Podcast to share her iterative technical writing style guide, the importance of technical writers’ and designers’ collaboration for quality content development and the significance of writing from a user’s perspective. Check out all the other episodes here.

Key Facts

  • Dr Anu Singh’s Linkedin
  • Fiserv website
  • Dr Anu Singh holds Masters in English degree 
  • Dr Anu Singh is a doctor of philosophy (in American Literature and Indian Writing in English)
  • Dr Anu Singh is in technical writing for more than a decade
  • Fiserv uses MSTP styles and standards for technical documentation

Key Takeaways

  • Anu has always been a writer. In her earlier years, she wrote content for technologies such as VOIP and iPhone. This got her curious, and she changed her entire focus and dedicated her career to technical writing
  • The documentation process at Fiserv follows an agile methodology. Initially, they started with Scrum framework to organise the tasks and later on moved to Hickory framework. The technical team follows agile, iterative method, where one iteration gets improved, and then subsequent iteration follows
  • The content development department at Fiserv has a huge team of technical writers, content developers and designers
  • Fiserv is currently in a transitional phase that Dr Anu refers to as “the messy middle”. They are shifting from a traditional documentation approach to one that is more user-focused 
  • The profession of technical communication and linguistics is becoming one team. Together, they are moving towards a content management revolution and collaborating to produce user-centric content
  • Anu believes writing is to give users a voice; it’s creative and has to be from the user’s perspective. Creativity in technical writing adds value to the clients’ products. 
  • Become the reader’s advocate and write for them
  • Fiserv makes financial institutions successful by syncing their products and approach with customer needs 
  • Currently, Fiserv is experimenting with chatbots, podcasts, building more job aids, micro-content, and microlearning. Anu believes technology adaptation is a must for technical writers in order to communicate well with the current technology pro generation 
  • Quality documentation at Fiserv has not brought a significant workflow reduction as their automation is in process 
  • Fiserv has a dedicated client advisory board to make communication with clients more transparent
  • Fiserv employees are empowered and accountable for individuals. They don’t have a standardized reporting channel as document ownership belongs to them 
  • Fiserv’s team comprises a department head (VP), trainers, facilitators, developers, and managers. Different teams like writers and product developers are aligned and connected through Scrum 
  • A product release sign is needed from development, QA, performance, security, documentation, and respective stakeholder
  • Documentation generated by Fiserv is exclusive to licensed clients, and they are moving towards a dedicated document server
  • The organic search traffic is under POC (proof of concept) phase – they will soon implement analytics in documentation 
  • Dr Anu is grateful for her team. She calls them innovators that bring in client experience and giving a new perspective to technical documentation

Anu’s biggest influence

Paritosh gave Anu a piece of advice to when you’re writing, write uninterrupted – complete your first draft. Take a break and come back with a fresh set of eyes to review that instruction.

Key resource

What documentation related advice would Anu give to her 20-year-old self?

Do your extensive research. Be a pain in the neck of the SME (subject-matter experts) team. Learn everything from UI to hardware and software requirements about the product you’re going to write about.

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