Introduction to Project Documentation Plan
A project documentation plan is one of the key things that one should have before jumping on to any project. It is one of the key technical aspects of a project.
If you are working as a freelancer or for a big corporate firm, always start a project with a documentation plan because it will avoid the unnecessary complication that you a going to face on the way. A project documentation plan not only provides you with a working map of the project it also gives you a head’s up for the kind of difficulties that you are going to face on that path. Moreover, with a post-facto detail on what will happen if you are not able to complete the process in time, it will only ease the work of the employee.
And just to include the fact, it should be dynamic because it should be flexible to accommodate as many changes as time suggests.
If you are not up for a good documentation plan, then it may lead to an expensive delay in the project or poor quality documentation that will only increase the workload and project estimation in every aspect.
For example- when you buy a product from the market, you get a product manual, and with the help of this manual, you use the product accordingly, so it gives you a rough idea about the setup, installation, usage of that product, and what will happen if you did not use it as it says on the manual.
Components of an ideal documentation plan
Now, as we have a clear idea that the documentation plan is very necessary for establishing clear planning of one’s project, one needs to make a good project plan. And to make one, there are some points that need to be kept in mind. We will discuss those in these sections. We can basically divide components into two parts:
First Documentation overview
(we should know how to make a documentary about the document)-
- Cover page: the cover page is the summarization of the whole project; any project should include a copyright statement, the name of proprietors, and summarization of important figures (may or may not necessary).
- History: A project documentation plan must include history through which it has passed, like the updating dates, title, and names of the person who did the updating on that project. Basically, this is done so that you can keep track of any updating happening on your end or if any other employee is entertaining it.
- Contact information: The contact information tab should have the contact list of the entire liable person related to that project (specifical person from management level, or senior authorities or who so ever have a proper say in the project).
- Contents: There should always be a proper content association of a documentation plan because it will only help to navigate through the plan
Second content orientation
(we should know how to put highly important and where)
- Summary: It is the heart and soul of a documentation plan; the summary is the initiator of the project documentation plan. It should majorly focus on the limelight of the project, like the major updates on the major aspects. By going through the summary, one should get an idea that what will be the time frames or deadlines of their respective mini-projects. A summary should be subdivided among another mini-project as there will always be a mini project inside a big one.
- Audience: The major aspect of any documentation plan is the audience for which you are making it. So make sure you are including the right aspect of the project as per the respective audience. (head’s up- Be very careful while using the technical terms as your audience maybe not be so in for technical terms).
- Documentation specification: One should always do some special consideration regarding fonts, logo, color orientation, images, media content, etc. Whether it is an online document or printed document, or both, will it be single-sourced or what the page dimension is.
- Time table: It is necessary to have a timetable, whether it is the real-life of project planning, because routine will always keep us on our toes. In the context of project planning and documentation, it is very much necessary to have a Time table so that we can always check the respective questions.
The important landmark that needs to be kept in check is-
What are the milestones in the development of the project?
Which chapter needs to be completed when?
What is the review cycle period?
What are the KPI we should keep in check regularly?
How many types and rounds of review should be allowed?
What is the calendar are the deadline of the project?
- Risk factor: Everybody has heard the statement, “greater the risk, greater the reward.” So with every work, there is always some risk factor associated. Like-
What are the bottlenecks o this project?
Which factors will disturb the stability of the project (or make it come to a halt)?
Is there is a backup plan for such an eventuality, or what are the connecting measures?
What are the corrective measures one should take to make it work?
As you can see, without a documentation plan, one cannot project a sincere projection of its project.
So we can say that a documentation plan is a blueprint of the whole project with the entire ifs’ and buts’ included. It is the backbone of the whole system. Though we cannot say how much one should show the dependency on it because sometimes real-time human judgment is far better than written rules but for laymen to start working on a project, the guideline the starter that is needed can be provided by first initiating the documentation plan. And also, it is very important to analyze all of our work gather as many ideas and inspiration as we can before the project goes to the floor because the more we sweat on the field less we bleed on the ground.
This has been a guide to Project Documentation Plan. Here we have discussed the Components of an Ideal Documentation Plan. You may also look at the following article to learn more –