➢ The process to create a document is called Document Development
Life Cycle (DDLC). It involves stages like Analyse, Design,
Information Gathering, Outline Structuring, and so on, which will be
discussed in the latter part of this document.
➢ The Document Development Life Cycle runs parallel to the Software
Development Life Cycle in the organization. DDLC is required in an
organization to set up a process for developing a new document and
maintaining the existing documentation.
➢ Technical Writers (TWs) are responsible to implement the DDLC in
the organization. Sometimes, TWs are also known as Information
Developers or Technical Communicators.
Different phases of the Document Development Life Cycle:
1. Analysis (Information Gathering): The document development begins
with analysis and information gathering of the following components:
a. Audience: The understanding level of the audience becomes very
imperative while writing a document. The document for the beginners
'level covers basic features of the product and uses a simple language,
wherein you can include advanced features and use technical jargon and
flowery language for the expert audience.
b. Type of Document: There is a range of documents that can be
delivered e.g. User manuals, PowerPoint presentations, online help,
multimedia, and so on. The best suitable document for the product needs
to be understood before writing. For example, Online help is the best
suitable for the software which has a user interface whereas for hardware
products a physical user manual document is useful.
c. Software: The technical writing process requires a few software to
accomplish the task. The writers develop documents using authoring tools
like Robohelp, Framemaker, Microsoft Word, and more. Screenshots are
also part of the documents and to capture them there are many open-
source screen capture software available like SM Snap, MS paint, and
more. The type of document to be delivered is the deciding factor for the
selection of software, for example, to create user manuals, the Frame
maker and Microsoft Word are the best software to work. Robohelp is used
to create online help and web help for the application.
2. Design: Design of the following involves in this phase:
a. Style Guides/Style Sheets: Style consists of standards that help to
develop consistency throughout the documentation. There are many style
guides available by different publications e.g. Microsoft Style of Technical
Publication, Chicago Manual of Style, Style of elements by Shrunk &
White, and more. Every organization customizes the style guide based on
their product and follows it while developing the document.
b. Templates: To establish a structure of the document, a Template or
Outline is created which consists of the different levels of headings, the
number of tables and images in the document, and so on.
c. Project Planning: The project plan is created in which every detail
of the project is filled. This comprises the total number of topics involved
in the documentation, number of Technical Writers involved in the project,
tentative time spent in writing, time spent reviewing the documents by
different parties, and more.
3. Write: Technical writers write the first draft of the document and sent it
for technical review to the Subject Matter Expert (SME).
4. Review: There are a minimum of two rounds of review to maintain the
consistency and accuracy of the content.
a. Technical Review: This review ensures the technical accuracy of the
content and is generally done by the Developers and Testers.
b. Language Review: This review is done to ensure language
consistency. This review also ensures that the style guide has been
The Technical writers incorporate the given feedback in the documents to
attain quality. The review rounds could be multiple depending on the
quality of the document.
5. Deliver: The document is delivered to the client in a pre-decided format.
6. Maintain: This is an important stage of this cycle; the documents are
preserved for future use. A content Management System (CMS) is used to
preserve the documentation for reusability. There are numerous CMS
available in the market, for example, Microsoft SharePoint, Astoria, and
Documentum are the popular ones.
Terminologies in DDLC
Template: A template is a file that serves as a starting point for a new
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a style sheet language used to describe
the presentation of a document written in HTML or XML. CSS describes
how elements should be rendered on screen, on paper, in speech, or on
Style Sheet: In word processing and desktop publishing, a style sheet is a
file or form that defines the layout of a document.
A table of contents, usually headed simply "Contents" and abbreviated
informally as TOC, is a list, usually found on a page before the start of a
written work, of its chapter or section titles or brief descriptions with their
commencing page numbers.
Single-source publishing: The process of publication where a single
source document/file is used to generate multiple documentation
deliverables or formats.
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