Where do I start? The art and practice of documentation triage


Congratulations! Someone realizes your awesome product needs equally awesome documentation, and you’ve earned the job! It’s an exciting new role, with new goals and challenges.

Cue the panic: There are too many things to do! Where do I start? How can I succeed in this role?

I’ve been there before. In fact, I’ve done it multiple times. Like medical triage, you won’t have a lot of time to think before you dive in and get to work. It’s stressful, even if there are no lives at stake!

But you can be fast and smart. I’ll tell you how to get started (audit the existing content, create a list of requirements for documentation tools, ruthlessly prioritize a huge list of tasks) and how to keep going (build relationships with coworkers in customer-facing roles to learn what your customers really need from docs, take a moment to pat yourself on the back every now and then). I’ll also admit to mistakes I’ve made, and how I’ve learned to avoid them (like trying to do everything myself, or thinking that time spent planning is taking away from “real work”).

Your new role will require hard work, but a bit of advice can help you get started, stay motivated, and avoid pitfalls along the way.

  • Conference: Write the Docs PORTLAND
  • Year: 2018

About the speaker

Neal Kaplan