Documentoring: Growing a “Love The Docs” community


As documentarians, our primary goal is delivering the content that users need in order to use our products. This might sound simple, but we are often writing about complex systems, which will be used by people of varying skill levels. Our final publications may have all the words in the right order, but sometimes our biggest challenge is getting access to the right content in the first place.

Deciding on what is the right content can often be hard, and extracting it from the development team can be even harder. Some of us might be able to read the codebase to decipher what information a user will need. Some of us might get to sit in planning and strategy meetings to gain a thorough understanding of our user and their documentation requirements. Most of us though will find something in the middle - we sit with developers and engineers, build relationships, and elbow our way into their process.

This talk will look at several ways in which to mentor your engineering and marketing specialists so that everyone in your team can contribute to the documentation process. I call this "Documentoring" - its about training the people around you to understand the requirements of a documentarian, and to truly value the docs as part of the product lifecycle.

Through my experience at IBM, and then at a small startup in Bristol, I've seen (and tried) various techniques at getting everyone in your team invested in quality documentation. I'll share stories of my successes and failures, and show you how documentation really can be a team effort, even if you stand alone in your company as the sole owner of the docs.

  • Conference: Write the Docs EU
  • Year: 2016

About the speaker

David Oliver