Your team is strong – you guys eat software development for breakfast. You get things done for the client, and the client loves you. Hell, your software is so good, it doesn't even need documentation! Right? Despite your confidence, I'd argue you need a writer anyway (or at least a point person on documentation). That said, I think some of your belief that you don't need a writer stems from your misunderstanding of what a tech writer does and how they function within the team. Here are four ways a technical writer can make a strong team even stronger.
I'm passionate about getting high-quality feedback on my documentation. This is my profession, after all – I don't want to turn in shoddy work and I don't want customers to suffer with sub-par help. I'm happy to get whatever feedback I can; I'll even take spelling and grammar feedback and eat it like the delicious cookie it is. But as I've worked more and more on software development projects, I've set my sight on a new type of documentation feedback: user acceptance testing (UAT).
I don't think I've ever heard of a software team that performs docs UAT. But the more I think about it, the more it seems absurd. After all, we do software UAT to ensure customers have a chance to tell us whether our code meets their needs, has any bugs we missed, and how it can be further improved. This would also be valuable information for the documentation! And yet I've never heard of a place that does this. But why? Or better yet: why not?
Both the internet and bookstore are full to the brim with information about how to set up, run, manage, and get value from development teams. But for all that information, there's comparatively little about how to do the same for documentation. Docs seem to be a dark spot in the software development universe ‒ it can be hard to navigate. How do you know you're doing what's right? How do you know you're avoiding the pitfalls? And does any of it matter anyway? After all, docs don't have a profound effect on your business ‒ right?
Let's dispel 6 documentation myths that might be hurting your business.