Creating Project Documentation
Creating project documentation is not just about filling in the gaps on the project templates. Often BAs have to complete a variety of project deliverables and reports. A BA should have a good process in their toolkit for creating project documentation. Here are three techniques that can help:
- Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA)
- The 5 W’s
- Peer review
Depending on the methodology you use, the Planning phase can take up about 40% of your overall time. You should have a documented goal of what you are trying to complete. Get all the facts (or as much as you can) before you start drafting your document.
During the planning phase you should ask yourself a few key (5W’s) questions:
- Who is your audience? (Stakeholders)
- What are you writing about? (Topic)
- When will you know when it is complete? (Success factors)
- Where is the document used? (Group, Department, Repository, Work Package, Et cetera)
- Why are you writing this? (Purpose)
- How are you going to write it? (Style and format)
Once you have sufficient information you should create a draft document. The drafting phase usually takes around 30% of your overall time. If you have a good plan then you should be able to quickly draft your document. Detailed editing can slow down your drafting process so edit the major stuff after you have completed your first draft. Taking time to edit at the start may help you develop great ideas but it may also cause you to forget little things that you intended to include.
Consider this as the Review & Refine phase. It should take up around 30% of the overall time. During this phase, you will want to check for spelling errors, sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation but you should also reduce unnecessary words (don’t make it too wordy). Make your sentences and paragraphs easy to read. Include the required information, remove anything not required, and use words that are common to the intended reader. The easier it is to read the better it will be received. Finally, make sure you get your documentation peer reviewed and signed off before you make them available to stakeholders.
After the document has been reviewed and approved it is ready to be released to the stakeholders. this does not mean that you always have to send it to someone else when it is complete, just that it is ready for when someone else needs it.
Finally, a peer review is a valuable tool for catching any errors, updates, or missed information that should be included when creating project documentation.