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July 03, 2018 SpeakingWork

Speaking Announcement: Write the Docs Prague 2018

In a few months, I’ll be joining the technical writers community at Write The Docs Prague. I’m thrilled to have been chosen and I look forward to meeting my fellow writers. Check out my intended abstract:

How to tear down existing documentation and rewrite docs that actually work

We all know what it’s like to look at a series of existing documentation and think, “how did this happen?” Be it a large swath of unorganized content or a lack of a clear strategy, the complications of bad docs aren’t just a curse for documentation editors. Our readers see it, too. It leads to confused support requests and possibly a loss of customers.

When I started at Joyent, I was continuously made aware of documentation that needed help, and it felt like a nonstop firefight. Over time, I was able to quell the fires, create a content strategy, and completely redefine how our documentation works. Then all of my work was blown up a second time — this time, starting from scratch with a not yet existing product. From this experience, I’ve learned it’s all about being organized and having a clear strategy.

In this talk, we’ll discuss:

  • how to get buy‐in for a documentation do‐over
  • how to pivot from rewriting docs to starting from scratch
  • content strategy (and how to write a great one)
  • empathy for our readers
  • setting easy-to-follow guidelines for non-professional writers

We’ll also touch on how to prioritize and manage all of this work without additional full-time documentation help.