It has happened with me a couple of times, and I am sure you must have come across it too. Yes, you are correct, I am referring to the last-minute changes to a documentation project. Besides the angst it also sometimes creates chaos in documentation.
Typically, the last-minute documentation changes comes from the:
- user experience design team,
- software development team,
- and software testing team.
You are in midst of a deadline. Release is happening today. Certainly, out of nowhere, there are a few changes that have arrived. What could you possibly do? what should be your approach? I have tried to come up with couple of strategies that have been tried and tested:
- Prepare to have your content in metadata so that customers can find it in their knowledge base system and you can push out the content with the last-minute changes rapidly. Think more in the lines of dynamic help rather than context-sensitive help.
- Set up a responsible system so that customers/users/clients can access the documentation in their mobile devices.
- Prepare to reuse content and set up certain business rules that takes care of your documentation. Reusable strategies can be employed at regular places. Think of considering embedded topics by the help of which you can do a last-minute update of your source content and the changes gets reflected in all the other container topics.
- Loop yourself in the projects. You should be in the chain of emails aware of any last-minute changes to the software or network application. Be better prepared lest it comes.
- Don’t cringe : It is better to get on with the task because an annoying face will never make things right. Get into the task, document the changes, and then ensure that there is a definite process followed the next times certain situations like these arise.
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