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Employee Training

Who's in charge of The Docs?

Greg DeVore - Dec 1, 2014 5:48:38 PM

One of the main problems growing B2B software companies have is determining who is going to write the documentation.

  • Everyone knows it needs to get done.
  • Everyone knows customers want it.
  • Everyone knows it will improve customer support.

But when it comes time to write the articles, everyone seems to respond, "Not me!"

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Someone needs to own it

If nobody "owns" the responsibility of creating and maintaining the documentation, then it simply won't get done. So we recommend designating a manager who is responsible for completing documentation, and assigning authors to write it.

Designate one Manager

Most B2B software companies we work with have assigned a manager to own the documentation - some of the titles include:

  • Customer Success Manager
  • Customer Support Manager
  • Documentation Manager

That doesn't mean the people in those roles actually write the documentation. They are just in charge of making sure that it gets written and that it stays up to date.

Even if you have a small support team, somebody should take responsibility for the documentation. If the Customer Support Manager doesn't want it, he/she should designate one support agent as the documentation manager.

Don't have a Customer Support Manager? Then assign the ownership to another role (or make one up) either permanently or on a rotating basis - sombody needs to manage the docs.

Rotate Who Writes

The manager can designate him/herself to write the documentation, or they can designate/hire somebody to write full-time. If you hire somebody full-time, you're set. But that doesn't always make sense for small teams - so another option is to share the responsibility for writing and rotate the role.

When Zendesk had a smaller support staff, they would put one support agent in charge of writing documentation for a week and rotate who that person was. During that week, the agent wouldn't respond to support tickets - rather, he/she would write new docs and update existing ones.

Managing the Knowledge Base

While your organization is still growing, designating a manager and an author is important. The businesses that see the most success with their documentation have somebody permanently making sure documentation is consistent, well organized and up to date - and they usually assign somebody else to write new articles and/or make updates. 

Just remember - if everybody is in charge, nobody is.

Take our email course and  learn how to make great B2B software documentation

Topics: Documentation Managers

Greg DeVore

Greg DeVore

CEO of ScreenSteps

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