Staffing Technical Documentation Projects: Is it Better to Use Internal or External Resources?

IMAGINiT Technololgies

Many organizations rely on internal subject matter experts to develop technical documentation such as user manuals, product specifications, standard operating procedures, learning content, and more. But is this the best approach? Although the answer will vary by organization, here are some questions to consider:

1.     Do your subject matter experts have the bandwidth necessary to create high quality technical documentation?

Product developers, engineers, quality assurance specialists, and managers all have pressing responsibilities. Asking them to write documentation takes time away from their primary responsibilities. The quality of the documentation, as well as the work they were hired to do may suffer. This is particularly true if your organization has peak periods, such as new product or service releases. When confronted with competing priorities, subject matter experts may put a lower priority on documentation work. Yet, clear and concise technical documentation is critically important for the success of a product or service. 

2.     Do your subject matter experts have the skills needed to develop technical documentation?

In most cases, the skills required to craft technical documentation are different from those possessed by an organization’s subject matter experts. Professional technical documentation specialists understand how to transform complex information into content that’s clear to the target audience, easy to understand, and easy to update over time. 

3.     Can 1+1 = 3?

    Would combining the expertise of in-house subject matter experts with outsourced technical documentation specialists create greater value than relying on either team alone? External technical documentation experts can provide a fresh perspective on an organization’s documentation challenges, determine whether a fundamental component is missing from the current documentation strategy, and identify areas for improvement based on industry best practices. When internal subject matter experts collaborate with external technical documentation specialists, their time is used effectively and their knowledge is transformed into resources that will deliver significant value to documentation users.

If your organization is interested in exploring the benefits of an external technical documentation team, IMAGINiT is here to help. Our experts deliver Technical Documentation Services in conjunction with our ASCENT team, which is the leading developer of professional learning materials for engineering software applications. To learn more about IMAGINiT’s Technical Documentation Services and how we can support your team, visit our Technical Documentation landing page.


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