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Documentation Plan Checklist for Technical Writers

Before starting a large documentation project, plan ahead so that all areas related to the final delivery are covered, such as costs, production, resources, dissemination, and archiving.

If you overlook this step your project's success could be undermined by failing to anticipate these items. For example:   

  • Did you remember that Mary in Production Dept. is on holiday the day before release?
  • Have you got sign-off for printing?
  • How will you deliver the hardcopy reports?

Documentation Plan Template

Documentation Plan Checklist

This Documentation Plan describes how technical documentation will be prepared, delivered and distributed.

Tip: This is also known as an Information Development Plan

Use this template to:

  • Identify the content, format, page count, size etc for each document in your next publication cycle
  • Prepare cost estimates for the project duration
  • Schedule resources to meet the documentation requirements
  • Have greater control over your budget and ensure that risks and issues are addressed before starting the writing phase
  • Identify the necessary tools/licenses/PC configuration etc
  • Ensure documents are scoped correctly with the appropriate level of detail

None of these have to do with the main writing tasks, but are essential for the project's overall success, especially if it ties in with other parallel deliverables.

The following checklist offers some areas to consider before starting your project.

Questions Notes
What are the document's objectives?  

 

 

Who is the target audience?

Link to Audience Analysis template.

 

 

 

 

What previous work was done for them?  

 

 

What are the proposed start and finish dates?  

 

 

Who signs-off the final document?  

 

 

Who will be in the Writing Team?

(note any possible schedule conflicts)

 

 

 

What type of publication will be produced? Publication type:
  • Technical report
  • Procedures
  • Presentation
  • White Papers
  • System Admin Guide
  • User Guide
  • Other
What file formats are required?

For example: HTML, Word, On-line Help

 
What documents will the client supply?  
What software will be used?

(Are new licenses required?)

 

 

Will different authors share files?  

 

Will the document be published online?  

 

How often will the document be updated?  

 

What is the proposed release process?  

 

How will it be archived?  

 

What graphics will be used?  

 

Who will supply or design the graphics?  

 

Paper publications How will the document be distributed? (e.g. available by request)  

 

What are the duplication costs? (e.g. considerations such as special bindings, color copying costs)  

 

Online publications What security is required?

What are the costs to do this?

 

 

What are the website related costs?  

 



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