Hey, I'm Alexandra White.
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Talk: How to tear down your documentation

Learn about this event.

In September 2018, I spoke at Write The Docs Prague, focusing on the ways writers could write a proposal to convince their managers that the documentation needs to be blown up.

Below is an updated version of my talk abstract. Read the original abstract on the speakers list.

How to tear down your 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, so I could focus on the overall state of our content. I wrote a proposal to convince my manager that the key to good documentation is the content strategy behind it.

In this talk, I discussed:

  • How to write a convincing proposal.
  • Taking your proposal into action.
  • Learning from what I missed in my proposal process.

Skills: Writing

My Objectives

  • Inform attendees how to write a successful proposal to blow up docs
  • How to start to take the proposal into action.
  • Know what to takeaway if the project is unexpectedly ended.


  • Primary audience: technical writers
  • Secondary audience: developer relations experts, product managers, other technical leadership