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Case Study: Create Cohesive Technical Docs for Mid-Size Manufacturer

Technical Documentation: creating consistent technical product information from multiple sources

Technical documents for mid-size manufacturer

Client

A growing mid-size international manufacturing company that sells system equipment to worldwide telecommunication providers. The company’s products include telecom hardware that can be controlled by a software application.

Challenge

After product upgrades and partner acquisitions, the client’s technical documents—user manuals, quick starts, installation guides—were out of date and did not have consistent content. Field technicians, who might be working anywhere in the world and in less-than-ideal weather, needed to have current and accurate information.

The client wanted the updated documents to have the look and feel of the corporate brand. However, the client also wanted to use common graphics and word processing software so the marketing or technical managers could make future minor updates.

Solution

Teamplete suggested three ways to improve the client’s documentation process:

  • Standardized templates so the documents would reinforce the corporate branded look
  • Concise procedures with graphics to improve comprehension and retention
  • Reusable information modules when the same procedure is used throughout a group of similar products.

Teamplete designed standardized document layouts and text formatting in Microsoft Word. These templates included embedded graphics and preset paragraph styles, and the client’s technical and/or marketing personnel could easily update the content when needed.

Teamplete worked with subject matter experts and learned to use the client’s software programs, and then rewrote procedure documents as short information modules. Most procedure steps included either a screen capture or product diagram that would help the user verify the procedure’s progress.

Teamplete saw that related products had similar installation and user procedures. When possible, Teamplete reused the information modules in multiple documents to ensure consistency that would reinforce correct work practices.

Result

Teamplete rewrote nearly 20 installation guides and start-up guides, and updated the reference manual. Approximately 15 percent of the content could be used in multiple documents; for example, many of the quick start installation documents used content already produced for the user reference manual. Teamplete used direct, simple language in the installation and start-up guides, because field technicians needed to quickly read, learn, and retain vital information at job sites.

Teamplete created a common format for the collection of mismatched materials from the newly-acquired partners and subsidiaries. The documents complied with their corporate brand and displayed appropriate symbols of compliance with industry standards.

The client presented the updated information to the technical and business leadership at their annual meeting. The documents are available from their corporate Web site.