The Five-Step Technical Writing Process.

The simple, five-step process that can be used to create almost any piece of technical documentation such as a user guide, manual or procedure.

For aspiring technical writers and students of technical writing, non-writers who find themselves assigned with the task of creating technical documentation, established writers who want to bring more structure to their work, and anyone managing a documentation project.

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Every aspiring author / tech writer in college should have this book.

- Steve Ballard, Manager, Enterprise Content Solutions, Intel

Exactly the sort of guide I wished I had when I first started tech writing.

- Sharon Witheriff, Technical Writer

A practical toolkit that demystifies the art of technical writing.

- Richard Kidd, Strategy & Operations Manager

A well-written, comprehensive and practical guide for technical writers.

- Sue Geercke, Technical Communications Manager

Logically laid out, not too heavy on jargon, and uses good diagrams and illustrations.

- Duane Green, Technical Publications Manager

Systematically guides the reader through an intuitive, yet effective, methodology that spans everything from Planning to Publishing.

- Shay Withnell, Product Strategy Manager, Cochlear

The definitive standard in technical writing.

- Rami Banna, Senior Systems Engineer & Technology Evangelist

This pragmatic approach is excellent and fills a desperate need in the tech writing world.

- Charlotte Nash-Stewart, Author & Technical Writer

Packed full of great information and is very easy to read.

- Sue Geercke, Technical Communications Manager

How You Can Benefit

Save Time
Save time with an off-the-shelf technical writing toolkit, rather than investing time and energy in coming up with everything from scratch. The book contains 11 templates such as a Documentation Plan, Schedule, Status Tracker, Review Log, Editing Checklist, and the Technical Writing Process diagram.
Structure Your Work
All too often, technical writing projects rely on a combination of experience and luck to succeed. The Technical Writing Process takes away the element of guesswork, turning technical writing into a structured, easily manageable process.
Focus on the Audience
The best writers know their audience and tailor their writing to their needs. How do they do that? By asking the right questions. This book embeds these fundamental questions into steps and tools such as the Documentation Plan.
Leverage Experience
The process has been reviewed by top-notch technical writers and documentation managers. Almost 500 comments from reviewers and contributors were incorporated, resulting in a wealth of insights, tips and practical advice from real-world practitioners.

The Technical Writing Process Book

A lot of technical books focus on the writing aspect of technical writing. But, as any experienced technical writer will tell you, writing is only part of the picture. Four of the five steps in the Technical Writing Process focus on other things, like planning, structuring, reviewing, and publishing your work. This is the missing ingredient – the project management aspect of technical writing that often gets overlooked.

Plan

"If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." This chapter covers the planning activities you need to carry out to set up your documentation project for success, such as defining scope, customising the Technical Writing Process to suit your project, scheduling, tracking progress, and creating a Documentation Plan.

Structure

The table of contents is the backbone of your document, providing a structure or "information architecture" for you to populate with text. This chapter covers the four main approaches to structuring technical documentation (narrative, process-based, library, and system-based) and how to work with stakeholders to develop it.

Write

Writing is where you convert your bare-bones table of contents into a series of drafts. This chapter covers writing methods such as active voice and Plain English; reviewing with subject matter experts; managing the review process with version control; and techniques on layout and formatting. There's even a section on graphic design tips for writers.

Review

Review begins with editing, the time-honoured process of polishing a document to bring it up to a publishable state. This chapter includes highly practical tools such as an Editing Checklist and the Levels of Editing diagram. It also covers peer review, testing and validation; defining the review team; and conducting formal stakeholder reviews.

Publish

Publication can be a complicated process, whereby technical writers carefully manufacture and launch a final product. This chapter covers common publication tasks such as establishing document control, performing final checks like proofreading, and communication with stakeholders. It also discusses more advanced scenarios such as print production and translation.

Templates

The process is supported by 11 templates, designed to help you execute the detailed activities in each step of the Technical Writing Process. The Templates appendix includes the 11 templates in full as images. They're also available for purchase and download via the Templates page on this site in their original Microsoft Office format.

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Praise for the Book

Steve Ballard

Every aspiring author / tech writer in college should have this book.

Sharon Witheriff

This is exactly the sort of guide I wish I had when I first started tech writing.

Duane Green

Aspiring writers throughout the enterprise will find this to be a solid resource as they try to figure out how they should go about documenting something. It's logically laid out, not too heavy on jargon, and uses good diagrams and illustrations.

Charlotte Nash-Stewart

This pragmatic approach is excellent and fills a desperate need in the tech writing world. Many a point raised will have the older hands nodding sagely and the younger people remembering the advice when they first run into those issues.

Sue Geercke

A well-written, comprehensive and practical guide for technical writers. It is packed full of great information and is very easy to read. I particularly like the Insights, What does that mean? and Tips callouts which appear throughout the book.

Rami Banna

Technical Writing Process is the professionalisation of the technical writing discipline. It rightly considers the holistic context for a technical document and provides a comprehensive cookbook for getting it right within an organisation. The insights, examples and templates are perfect and pragmatic. The definitive standard in technical writing.

About The Author

Kieran Morgan

Kieran Morgan is a veteran of numerous technical writing and process-related projects. He’s worked in roles such as technical documentation project manager, senior technical writer, technical writer and business analyst for some of Australia’s highest-profile companies including Cochlear and Leighton Contractors. He’s also worked on the other side of the fence, as a product manager and editor in the non-fiction legal publishing industry, working for international publishing icons Thomson Reuters and LexisNexis. He even had a stint as proofreader at Australian advertising icon George Patterson Y&R. His company, Better On Paper Publications, is the official publisher of this book.

Purchase the Technical Writing Process

The Technical Writing Process is available for purchase in e-book and paperback formats. The templates shown in the book are also available for purchase and download in their original Microsoft Office format. 

eBook

$9.95

The e-book edition of the Technical Writing Process.

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Paperback

$24.95

The paperback version of the Technical Writing Process.

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Templates

$4.95

The downloadable templates as shown in the eBook and paperback versions of the Technical Writing Process, in their original, editable, Microsoft Office format.
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