Why Having Your Engineers Write Your Documentation is a Risky Strategy

By The Good Words TeamMarch 4, 2022

We know that your technical documentation can be an afterthought—and we get it. 

After all, you’re faced with a myriad of challenges, from a lack of resources to the pursuit of evermore complex (but exciting) business goals. And certain things, like product launches or releases, will naturally take the top spot on the to-do list.

As a result, other vital tasks, like creating documentation, are shuffled around and often given to the engineers to take care of.

On the surface, that doesn’t sound like a particularly risky strategy. Not only are your engineers highly skilled, intelligent people, they’re also the ones directly involved in product development. Who better to write the accompanying technical documentation? However, this approach can backfire, often with serious consequences for both your bottom line and customer satisfaction. Here’s why:

It’s Bad for Your Customers

Clear, concise, easy-to-understand documentation is a critical component to customer success. It can mean the difference between a 5-star experience or a whole lot of time dealing with your customer support team.

And as brilliant as your engineers and product developers may be, they aren’t necessarily great writers. Distilling complex technical information into a form that’s easily accessible to a layperson is a specialized skill set, and not one that is typically featured in an engineer’s training. In fact, engineers are often so close to their own projects that they find it hard to communicate the relevant details in a way that’s going to be easily understood by your customers.

Add to that the heavy workload and time constraints that make up the typical engineer’s schedule, and you may well end up with a document that’s been pushed through as an afterthought, long after project completion, by which time significant aspects of the development process may have already been forgotten.

All of which results in documentation that’s rushed, lacking in vital information, and hard for customers to decipher.

It’s Bad for Your Engineers

Simply put, your engineers have better things to do with their time!

Creating effective documentation can be hugely time consuming, especially if you aren’t trained in documentation tools and best practices. And if it’s not the type of work that fires you up, it can be extremely tedious, too.

Engineers are expensive, revenue-driving employees; your organization relies on them to develop, create, and refine the products that bring in the dollars. Having them spend a chunk of their time creating documentation instead of working in their own zone of genius isn’t just frustrating for them: It can actually have a negative impact on the company’s bottom line.

How to Eliminate the Risks

With the technology landscape becoming ever more complex, producing stellar documentation has never been so important, but you don’t have to rely on your engineers to tackle technical writing to get the job done.

At Good Words, we take pride in creating clear, concise, accurate technical documentation, from efficient UI text to complex developer guides. 

Because we’re specialists in technical writing, we can take even the most complex of products or services and make them accessible for users of all backgrounds. We know exactly how technical writing fits into the design and development process, and can work closely with your team of engineers to ensure we have all of the information needed to create documentation that leaves nothing out.

When you allow us to take care of your documentation, you leave your engineers free to work in their own zone of genius—and allow us to work in ours!

Get in touch with Good Words now to find out exactly how we can help.