Importance of Project Plan

Planning is the most important aspect of a documentation project. A good plan provides a basis for every action that needs to be performed. It helps you frame the projects so that you can work towards a goal. It is very unfortunate that in most organizations, documentation planning is usually regarded as something to be done after the development phase is complete.

Careful analysis and planning are integral parts of the working life of a technical writer. You cannot have quality in a project which is not properly defined and/or planned. You need a predefined structure to produce quality documents in a predictable and reliable manner. Though the basic approach may remain the same, the planning process may vary for organization to organization. To produce an useful documentation, consider it to be an integral part of the product development phase.

The trouble with plans is that they are based on the way things are now. To be successful, your plan must focus on what you want, not what you have. —Nido Qubein

Very often, projects change so much that you diverge from the original plan as youprogress. So, planning at an initial stage may sometimes seem to be a waste of time,but no one can deny that it works as a road map that points to a destination. You canalways change it as you develop the document.

  • As soon as you get a project in hand, the temptation is to start writing. Starting immediately is the worst thing to do because you are more likely to hit the writers block and wonder what to write and how to write. In the process, you will end up with a poorly written document.
  • Sometimes, the project may get into such slippery grounds that you are not sure about what is happening and what is to be done. In such confusion, you can refer to the plan and get right back on the track.
  • The plan enables various people in a project to agree upon the contents, design, and other such details of the project before starting the documentation efforts. The product and documentation managers agree and approve of the way you intend to handle the documentation.
  • The plan is a formal agreement between the project manager, documentation manager, writers, and reviewers regarding the dates, formats, and other issues. Create the plan and get it reviewed and approved by the people involved in the project. This way, the management is aware of the effort that will go into creating the document and you will also have their agreement on certain aspects of the project.
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