I have extensive experience in both writing from scratch or editing existing content. When I write content from scratch, I take a deeper dive into the audience analysis. I want to know the what, how, and why. It lets me understand the role and I can create the appropriate content for that user. I also validate the content as much as possible. In the process of validating content, you will discover ways of improving your products!
Creating or editing
The biggest challenge when I have to edit a large chunk of documentation involves retaining a singular voice. Sometimes I prefer to write content from scratch, I also edit existing documentation due to product enhancements. This type of editing still lets me take my from scratch approach, especially if I am modernizing the documentation to read more like an article. I start by gathering requirements from the team, so that I understand the big picture.
An agile environment lets me validate and publish my documentation updates quickly. The most important aspect of technical communication involves understanding your customer’s role. As technical writers, we sometimes make assumptions about the user’s domain knowledge. Ask your team to help validate the appropriate amount of prerequisite content.
Know your customer
We cannot make these assumptions unless we really know our customer base. Some customers simply need to have their hand held with certain concepts, especially with configuring complex environments. These environments have so many prerequisites that it can make your head spin, but that is why we collaborate with developers and testers to implement best practice content in our documentation.