Sue Highmoor, Document Manager at UKCloud, joins us in this episode of Knowledgebase Ninjas Podcast to share insights on documentation process workflow and innovations in documentation tracking.
- Sue’s LinkedIn
- UKCloud Website
- During her university years, she understood documenting the product is as significant as development.
- Sue has been in the technical documentation field for nearly 30 years
- Last year she transitioned from a Technical Author to Documentation Manager at UKCloud
- Her first job was very much about hard documentation. She was involved in creating printed user guides
- As a documentation manager, she was responsible in terms of driving strategic directions like what they wanted to do with the documentation and how to do it
- Speaking about the Documentation process workflow at UKCloud, she says the documentation process starts with requests. The request can come from any part of the business, mostly from the technical team when developing a new product, making changes, or fixing bugs. Some from support organizations on queries from customers or things they are struggling with. Some even come from the sales team
- The requirement can be for edits on a well-drafted article or it may be a whole article from scratch. The latter will involve secondary research and personal communication with subject matter experts. Once the draft is complete, it goes through a review process and the necessary sanity checks before it gets published. Making sure it is constantly gets updated is the key part of the entire documentation process
- Among various documents written by Sue, her favorite task is to write a step-by-step user instruction connecting the user journey from beginning to end and adding relevant how-to videos in the documentation
- According to Sue, the best way to track changes is to take the Doc-as-Code approach where creating markdown files which are like a source control system that has been incredible in terms of tracking. You make changes, roll them back and know exactly what’s happened and having approval processes, all baked into a single tool has been a great innovation in terms of rather than having to manually track word documents or create them
- Sue adds that almost 80% of their traffic comes organically via their docs site which is publically available
- If you aspire to become a documentation manager or looking at a similar transition, Sue’s advice is to pay attention and get involved in as many conversations as possible like why we are doing things and how we want to do things, and start having a voice from the very beginning itself
Sue’s biggest influence
Every single person she collaborated with in her technical journey.
- Google & Grammarly
What documentation-related advice would Sue give to his 20-year-old self?
Be persistent with what you are doing. As a documentation expert or a technical writer, you tend to collaborate with different teams and everyone has different priorities. Recognizing the role that you play in the business is as important as anyone else.
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