Tips To Maintain Documents

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    A company should always have a process in place whenever changes occur. This should be noted in a department Style Guide as a process. If it already exists, make sure that document revisions are part of the change process and that all necessary people are notified of changes. The change process will ensure that the process of updating the document is completed smoothly and without any consequences. The reason behind the update, the result desired, and the accuracy of the change has to be documented and distributed to all involved.

    Updates

    As an example, when an application request comes in and an application has to be modified, the reason behind the request as well as how it changed and who was involved has to be noted before any steps are taken. From the onset, to ensure a smooth transition, the appropriate people should be notified as soon as word of a possible change might occur. This will provide ample time for the technical writer and project planner to prepare for the updates. The writer can pull the necessary, essential, or any related documentation that will be affected and the planner can add the project to his schedule with adequate resources. Note: This is why a list of documents, their location, related projects, dates and last updated date should always be noted for the technical writer, researcher, and developer.

    Organization

    Organize or categorize documents on a list (i.e., a spreadsheet or a table) according to what is most suitable for the organization or for you. If images or graphics are involved, these should also be located in one folder and then broken down by project with sub folders if needed. Add links to these images, figures, or graphics within your table. This way, they can be easily located and retrieved, and have appropriate updates completed.

    Check List

    For each of the updates, validate them using a check list that was created to ensure that all relevant information was noted and modified with accuracy. It is a good idea to also include the following categories to the checklist along with any sub items: notifications, tests, approvals, projects, locations, users, etc. We want to be absolutely sure we did not omit anything.

    To maintain documentation accuracy, remember to always get it verified upon completion and signed off. If you have additional tips, please leave a comment.