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Create High-Quality Technical Content with a Non-Technical Background with Alan Kasim, Documentation Manager at Medallia

Category: Customer Support Category: Podcast

Last updated on Sep 22, 2022

In this week’s episode of the Knowledgebase Ninjas Podcast, Gowri Ramkumar is joined by Alan Kasim, Documentation Manager at Medallia. They discuss Alan’s career progression into technical writing, how to create high-quality technical content with a non-technical background, and the importance of interdepartmental communication.

Key facts

  • Alan’s LinkedIn 
  • Medallia website 
  • Alan is the Documentation Manager at Medallia
  • Medallia is a customer feedback management software platform that empowers every employee to improve the customer experience 
  • Medallia is a pioneer and market leader in experience management
  • Medallia is an award-winning SAAS platform
  • Alan holds a Bachelor degree in Creative Writing and English Language and Linguistics from the University of Roehampton 
  • Alan holds a Masters degree in Language Documentation and Description from SAOS University of London

Key takeaways

  • Alan started his technical documentation journey in 2015. He believes that most of his technical documentation learnings come from self-experiences and practising
  • Alan believes that his academic experience with writing, English literature, documentation, and his passion for learning technology helped him to excel in his technical documentation career
  • Alan advises emerging technical writers not to be discouraged if they don’t possess a technical background, as it can become an advantage. He explains that most technical documents are meant to convey technical information to people without any technical background. Therefore, you can understand their mindset better and share technical information in a way that is easily digestible to people without any technical background like yourself 
  • On the contrary, Alan believes that technical writers must possess certain core skills to succeed, such as explaining the most difficult of concepts and using images, graphs, etc. to visually explain a concept in detail. However, he believes that these skills can be learned through the course of technical writing 
  • Alan has a team of twelve writers for the documentation process at Medallia. He likes to write for specialised products that do not have a technical guide or that had gaps in their previous documents
  • Alan believes that to produce high-quality technical documents, a writer must; 
    • Prioritise the information to share (create the document flow)
    • Decide between valuable and extra content 
    • Add rich content to explain the concepts in detail 
  • At Medallia, Alan tries to ensure that his technical writers’ team always stays in close coordination with the developers. This is so they can reach out if they need further information on any technical aspect of the document. He believes that inter-department communication helps him to produce high-quality documents 
  • Alan believes that feedback is one of the most crucial processes for effective documentation and learning. He always trains his team on reviewing and understanding customer’s feedback thoroughly, implementing it in the document it pertains to, and noting it for future documentation reference 
  • Alan emphasises that documentation tracking is the key fundamental to streamlining documentation. He shares that a writer must keep himself engaged throughout the documentation cycle and be keen to improve every stage of the document 
  • Alan believes that technical documentation has emerged over time, and we live in an era where more and more focus should be on creating user-centric documentation 

Guest’s biggest influence 

Key Resources

What documentation-related advice would Alan give to his twenty-year-old self?

Not coming from a technical background is not a disadvantage”. Alan believes that not having a technical background may work in your favour, as you can understand non-technical users better. 

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