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Managing Distributed, Non-Linear Documentation Workflows with Jason Christie, Documentation Team Lead at Shopify

Managing Distributed, Non-Linear Documentation Workflows with Jason Christie, Documentation Team Lead at Shopify

Last updated on Aug 9, 2021

Jason Christie, Documentation Team Lead at Shopify, joins us on the Knowledgebase Ninja Podcast to share his experiences in his current role, how to manage distributed (non-linear) workflows and how to establish an agile documentation environment.

Key facts

Key takeaways

  • Jason started his technical writing journey in September 2007 from PNI Digital Media as a Technical Writer. Since then, Jason has worked with renowned companies like Suncor Energy, Transport Canada and Shopify  
  • Jason has been working with Shopify for five years now; he joined Shopify as a technical writer but after a year was promoted to team lead
  • Jason loves using DOCSIS code philosophy  for creating high-quality technical documents He uses DOCSIS to create developer workflow following the development process
  • Jason’s team uses Git to track changes in any set of instructions and documents. Git also helps team Jason to integrate speed, data, and support for distributed non-linear workflows 
  • Jason believes in an agile working environment, where all documentation stakeholders are able to share their work, experiences and feedback to support each other 
  • Jason and his team use Kanban Board, an agile project management tool designed to help visualize work, limit work-in-progress, and maximise work efficiency 
  • Jason keeps subject matter reviews as a priority in his documentation life cycle to visualise the end product and understand the workflow better. He engages with developers and project managers during this stage 
  • Jason believes in his team’s skillset and diversity and works with different teams to finalise the documentation process, “Every team plays a vital role in making documentation a success”
  • Jason shares that because of its highly emerging nature, Shopify requires continuous technical documentation flow. To ensure smooth workflows and successful documentation project delivery, Jason keeps his technical writer’s teams engaged at every stage of the documentation life cycle
  • At Shopify, Jason strives to transform siloed processes into agile workflows 
  • Shopify technical writers team consists of thirty personnel; those are further divided into three teams such as development docs, merchant docs, and video teams
  • Shopify’s technical documents are publicly available 
  • Jason shares that a well-planned SEO strategy helps in deriving organic traffic, which is the case with Shopify 

Biggest influence

Key resource

What documentation-related advice would Jason give to his 20-year-old self?

“Stay curious and explore all the options available.”

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