Science and technology

3 causes to host a docathon in your open supply challenge

Your open supply challenge’s documentation is important to your prospects. Your audience should perceive the aim of your challenge and the best way to use it, and documentation is what bridges that hole. A challenge isn’t ever really executed, so it is equally vital for assets to be maintained and up to date together with your challenge’s steady enchancment.

But what occurs when you’ve gotten a lot of documentation to keep up however lack the assets to maintain it present? The reply is fairly easy: Host a docathon!

What is a docathon?

A docathon is sort of a hackathon. A hackathon is an occasion the place engineers and group leaders collect to enhance or add new options to an current utility. In a docathon, the identical form of collaboration focuses on enhancing documentation.

[ Learn about writing Docs as Code. ]

A docathon can fill gaps inside content material, restructure massive documentation units, repair damaged hyperlinks, or simply appropriate typos. The intent behind internet hosting a docathon is to enhance a considerable amount of documentation in a comparatively temporary timeframe.

Some examples of product documentation embrace:

  • Training manuals
  • User manuals
  • Installation guides
  • Troubleshooting guides
  • Quickstart guides
  • API documentation
  • Tutorials

At my group, our documentation staff hosted a docathon and efficiently revamped a 102-page set up information. The docathon enabled us to give attention to the challenge’s scope, which was reorganizing for simplicity, eradicating duplicate content material, and following the shopper journey. Hosting a docathon left a long-lasting impression on my staff and improved buyer success.

[ Read Write documentation that actually works for your community ]

3 issues you’ll be able to obtain with a docathon

Here are my prime three causes to host a docathon:

1. No extra backlog

Most documentation should evolve together with the product it helps. As the product adjustments or updates, so should the documentation. In some circumstances, documentation groups launch new variations of their documentation alongside the engineering staff’s launch cycle. As priorities inside a staff change and GA releases proceed, documentation groups face the problem of maintaining with new options, bug fixes, and duties to finish. The adjustments that get left behind turn into a part of a backlog—an accumulation of labor that must be accomplished at a later time.

Docathon tip: During a docathon, members can triage backlog objects and full them as they progress by means of the record. Non-technical members can work on fixes associated to typos, damaged hyperlinks, and different text-related points.

Our favourite assets about open supply

2. Revamp large-scale guides

By the time your documentation staff realizes it is time to revamp a information, it is in all probability a number of chapters in and a whole lot of pages deep. Once the content material plan has been developed, the complexity of restructuring begins. Restructuring a considerable amount of documentation just isn’t for the faint of coronary heart.

Docathon tip: Assemble a staff to steer the docathon and supply incentives for organization-wide participation from completely different groups or departments. Depending on the scope of labor and time constraints, your staff can efficiently restructure a whole information in much less time than you in all probability count on.

3. Collaboration between cross-functional groups

It is frequent for various teams inside a company to work in isolation. Engineering, product, buyer help, advertising, and documentation groups might not collaborate on tasks as typically as they need to.

Imagine internet hosting an occasion the place every staff member can use their experience to enhance product documentation. Docathons foster subject material professional (SME) variety, real-time collaboration, and communication. They additionally permit for an inclusive surroundings the place people residing in several geographical areas can take part in individual or remotely. Your documentation receives the undivided consideration of specialists with completely different viewpoints and specializations, minimizing remoted siloes, unconscious bias, and burnout.

Docathon tip: Enable cross-functional groups to come back collectively for a typical trigger.

[ Learn what it takes to build a resilient IT culture ]

Documentation marathon

The subsequent time your staff has a seemingly insurmountable backlog or is tasked with restructuring an enormous documentation challenge, take into account internet hosting a docathon. It’s straightforward, and its productiveness might shock you. For extra data on internet hosting an occasion like this, learn Tiffany Long’s glorious 10-step guide to hosting a hackathon.

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