​​How to Create a Good Documentation Strategy: 7 Tips

If you’re in charge of your company’s management, you know how much paperwork gets generated, how much time goes into processing it, and how laborious it can be to analyze the data or information it contains. What this means is that document management is an integral part of modern business. 

Without a good documentation strategy, some documents may go missing or be out of date without anyone knowing if they have been updated or who was responsible for doing so. In other words, it’s more than obvious that there is a degree of uncertainty surrounding the veracity of the information handled when dealing with documentation. 

It’s not hard to find solutions that make organizing your company’s documents less time and effort-consuming, as there are many great documentation examples implemented by successful companies. 

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The chaos that results from a sloppy documentation strategy can have dire consequences, such as the cost of missing a deadline or not having a necessary document. When this happens in a company, the decision is made to implement measures that will allow for easier management, eliminate the need for paper, and streamline and automate the relevant procedures. 

1. Digitize, Centralize, Categorize

Converting all paper documents to digital format, if you haven’t done so already, is the first step in enhancing document management. Since digital data is more readily accessible, searchable, and manageable than paper information, the conversion from paper to electronic format significantly improves process efficiency.  

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To better manage the organization’s documentation, it’s recommended to create a repository. Having everything in one place simplifies document management, reduces the need for duplicates, and improves access. The ability to access relevant information quickly aids in making sound judgments. 

Organizations generate many different types of documents, so categorizing your documentation will significantly improve search efficiency, which is true both for digital and paper documents. The company’s structure can be deduced from the identification of its key processes, providing the foundation for this sorting. 

2. Use the Appropriate Tools 

It can be hard to do your job effectively without tools to help you with writing, organizing, and distributing documentation. Using a reliable plagiarism checker not only to check for originality but also to compare with other documents within your company, employees can be more efficient in creating and organizing documentation. 

There is a critical need for employees to have access to a state-of-the-art knowledge base platform that can aid them in their efforts to complete tasks related to the document lifecycle. 

Furthermore, creating and using standardized document templates can also greatly reduce the time spent on document preparation. As a result, the entire procedure for managing documents can move along much more quickly,  with much less effort and fewer mistakes.

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3. Use Metadata 

Information can be better organized and document management can be improved with the help of metadata. A well-organized system that makes use of metadata to describe the data’s or files’ contents greatly accelerates the process of finding the information they seek. Metadata must, of course, be defined in the context of the documents themselves. 

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4. Hire the Right People

Companies need to be able to rely on the right people for their documentation. There may be a need for technical writers, team leaders for documentation, project managers, and program managers. Once these positions have been defined, it will be easier to find the right people for each task.

5. Establish Authorizations 

To ensure that document management is truly efficient, it’s necessary to assign control. To rephrase, not all documents need to be shared with all employees; some are meant for mere consultation, while others can only be modified by corresponding managers. The safety of your document management is greatly improved by the use of access controls, which help prevent the loss of documents and the alteration of sensitive information. 

6. Encourage Collaboration

Users from various departments can collaborate on the creation and revision of a single document using management tools. Everyone should work together to manage documents, eliminating the need for unnecessary repetition, delays, or shifting of roles. 

Your documentation strategy will fail if the documentation team doesn’t interact with other parts of the organization effectively. It’s crucial to have a written record of the defined roles and responsibilities, the structure of governance, the engagement process, and the method for implementing and sustaining any necessary changes. 

7. Stay on Top of Document Versions

IT solutions that alert you to the expiration of documents, changes, or the need to update them are available, and they can also store the complete revision history of any given document. This way, problems like delayed deliveries or document unavailability can be avoided, making it simpler to meet legal and/or management system requirements.

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In a Nutshell

Implementing good documentation practices is crucial for any type of company. However, creating a documentation strategy that will have a positive impact on your business productivity and efficiency, isn’t the easiest task. What’s necessary for establishing efficient document management is to create a well-performing documentation team made up of the right people with the right set of skills. 

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You can also take advantage of business software that can help the documentation team take their document management skills to the next level. In other words, to ensure a good documentation strategy, it’s recommended to invest in appropriate software, such as tools for writing, organizing documents, management, etc.

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