All together now: Turning technologists into documentarians




I joined the VA’s Digital Experience group as a contract product manager of two documentarians in a sea of 75+ technologists. On paper, our job was to build and populate a customer-facing information portal. To do so in any enduring way, we quickly realized that we had to create a culture that not only prioritized documentation, but also empowered technologists to proactively author content. My government partner and I will share how we went from a haphazard content ecosystem to an alright one, and are now going from an alright content ecosystem to a good one.

Some things we’ll talk about:

  • Acting as guardrails, not gatekeepers, to turn technologists into documentarians
  • Convincing our customers to trust the new information portal, when customer-facing documentation had historically been ill-maintained and difficult to find
  • Using industry knowledge, best practices, and qualitative research to inform our public sector work
  • Being comfortable with unfinished documentation

If you need to create something from nothing, this talk is for you.

  • Conference: Write the Docs Portland
  • Year: 2022

About the speaker

Liani Lye (she/her)

Gretchen Maciolek