How to Handle the Product Release Fever- A Technical Writer’s Prospective
Technical writers will be on their toes during most of the product release period. Delay in receiving the reviews, getting last-minute input for update just before the product release- all these adds up the stress among technical writers. Not only do they have to add extra work hours to meet up the deadline, but the hastiness to update the documents also aggravates the number of errors in the documents. However, with some well-planned strategy, this problem can be easily tackled.
Stress for Timely Reviews
Emphasize on timely reviews. Practice and if required, educate your SMEs for the same.
Time to Time Review of UI
Review the user interface (UI) of the application periodically. Usually the tab names, icons are most likely to be changed. And when such changes happen, a technical writer would be the last person to be notified. Hence periodical reviews of UI will save you from last-minute update as far as screenshots are concerned.
Restrict Last-minute Updates
It’s very important to set cut-off dates after which no further changes to technical documents should be entertained. Send the reminders to the reviewers much prior to the release period so that they can send their input in time. Any last-minute change can be added as a release note for next documentation release plan.
Always Keep Document Backup
It’s always a good idea to have backup of your most up-to-date documents. You never know when your system might fail or software will create some issues. Keep the backup documents in a separate drive of your system/laptop so that it can be retrieved in case of emergency.
Bring Attention to Any Project Management Change
Any change in SMEs or project manager during the middle of a project release should be considered as a red flag. You might end up facing more delays in terms of getting reviews or input. If something like this happens, bring the matter into your manager’s notice immediately so that he can push the review process.