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TC: Document structure


You probably already know we write tech docs:
📕scopes of work
📗technical requirements
📘user guides
📙test scenarios etc.

🔹For software, systems or any special technical products, why not?
When you buy a new iron, you don't know yet how to use it properly.
The box opened and the very 1st thing you do.... you read its user manual, step-by-step, option-by-option

🔹Of course, not all docs have the same structure. But there are always some common rules how to structurize, e.g., a SOW (scope of work)
or a user guide. Text structure refers to how the information within a written text is organized. Which are guidelines for it?

1) Think about the end-audience of your doc. Who are they? What will be the reason for reading this doc?
Try to ask questions you need to have responded in your doc. Each question will represent a new chapter of your doc

2) Think about international or national standards for this doc type.
Google it if you are not sure.
But check the ISO web first. The International Organization for Standardization is an independent organization, the world's largest developer of voluntary international standards and facilitates world trade by providing common standards between nations. Over 20k standards have been set covering everything from manufactured products and technology to food safety, agriculture and healthcare.
Each country has also national standards for technical docs. Do you know your local standards?

3) We live in corporate world.
With quality management departments, internal documentation and internal rules for how to write, to organize or to format results of your work. Check for internal standards and bodies of knowledge with your manager

4) Everyone was a Fresher, a very scared and doubtful beginner.
For technical writers-beginners it's very recommended to find different examples of the doc type they write. In the Internet of in your corporate knowledge base. If found, try to analyze their table of contents, content and try to do a list of best practices that should be follow

5) Discuss with your client (or your teammates) what will be the best structure for your doc.
Everyone has his own humble opinion. Follow their recommendations

Follow step-by-step sequences in the correct order if you make instructions.
Follow the timing and sequencing of the actual operations. Provide visual stepping stones (e.g. Step 1, 2 etc.). Avoid lengthy paragraphs. Shorter paragraphs are, more structured your text is.

What other rules could you add to this list?
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Use these simple tips to be technologically advanced and business efficient!