How To Write Good Technical Documents (or how to shop for groceries successfully).

Technical documents, we've all seen them, and many of us might have already discovered how deliciously awful they can be. This blog focuses on improving your technical writing skills for formal / technical documents like policies, standard operating procedures, and work instructions.

What better way to explain technical writing tips than to look into our daily life and see what happens if we aren't careful when preparing to go out and buy groceries. Are you ready? Let's jump in!

Which types of documents are there?

There are a lot of different types of documents going around. The first distinction to make is whether a document is formal or informal. You can recognize a formal document through specific properties, such as:

• It has a business impact (for example: describing a process or requirements)

• It has a target audience (operators, IT, …)

• It has a specific use (procedure, work instruction, …)

• Non-conversational/non-casual tone (manuals, reports, …)

• It is reviewed and approved

• It is a structured document

Going back to our daily life example, this is the difference between twenty small notes lying around listing several articles that need to be bought (informal) and the actual groceries list (as you will see throughtout this blog, it ticks all of the "formal" boxes).

How to structure a Technical Document

Let's say we need ten items from the supermarket:

• Carrots

• Steak

• Toilet paper

• Oranges

• Shampoo

• Sausages

• Chocolate

• Onions

• Cheese

• Toothpaste

Written down like this, you're going to have fun running around the supermarket, passing each aisle several times because you forgot something. On the other hand, if you list all your items in a specific structured way, you will have a way more relaxed and efficient shopping trip.