From Me to Us: Building a docs team from the ground up




There are currently 824 members of the #lone-writer channel on the Write the Docs Slack. That’s (presumably) 824 people who are the only documentarian in their company or organisation. 824 people who need to handle all the planning, researching, drafting, writing, editing, updating, and maintenance for the documentation created by an entire organisation all by themselves. And that’s without even mentioning all the managing upwards, education and outreach to other areas of the organisation, and pointless meetings that are also part of everyday life in a modern corporate enterprise. Not all of these people will be lone writers forever, though: what happens when, sometimes after many months or years of asking politely, nagging, or even begging, you get approval to hire another writer? Or even build a whole team?

Going from one lone writer to a team of two, or five, or twenty, brings with it a whole host of challenges. Some of them are obvious, like who reports to whom, how to get your team talking to each other, how do we organise and apportion work, and what collaboration tools should we use. Other challenges you might not expect until you encounter them, like how do we make sure that our team is available in multiple time zones, and how do make sure we don’t silo knowledge in single individuals?

Lana is currently building out her third documentation team (or fourth, depending on how you count it!), and will share the knowledge accumulated over many organisations, community groups, and seventeen years of documentation management.

  • Conference: Write the Docs Portland
  • Year: 2022

About the speaker

Lana Brindley (she/her)