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SAI Global Documentation Team Handbook

Updated: 12 hours ago




Situation: At SAI Global, our documentation team had a recent turnover in technical writers, due to a lack of structured onboarding and a reduction in workforce. The absence of a standardized process led to inconsistencies in documentation quality and longer ramp-up times for new hires.


Task: As a Senior Technical Writer/Instructional Designer, I was tasked with creating a comprehensive Documentation Team Handbook to streamline the onboarding process for new technical writers, ensuring they had the necessary resources and guidance to become productive quickly.


Action:

  1. Conducted a needs analysis by interviewing current technical writers, managers, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Human Resources (HR) personnel to identify key areas of knowledge and common challenges faced by new hires.

  2. Researched best practices in onboarding and technical writing to inform the handbook's structure and content.

  3. Incorporating existing and new SAI Global documentation standards, tools, and style guidelines in the development of the guide.

  4. Developed an outline for the handbook, organizing content into logical sections such as company overview, team structure, tools and software, documentation processes ad style guide.

  5. Wrote detailed sections for each part of the handbook, including system access, communication tools, trainings, meetings, projects, continuous education, project status, team/company engagements, and important contacts list.

  6. Created supplementary materials, such as checklists and templates, to assist new hires in their initial tasks and ensure consistency in documentation.

  7. Implemented a review process, seeking feedback from existing team members and managers to refine the content and ensure accuracy.

  8. Designed the handbook in a user-friendly format—using Adobe InDesign, making it easy to navigate both in print and digitally.

  9. Conducted a pilot program with a small group of new hires, gathering feedback to make final adjustments before the official launch.


Result: The Documentation Team Handbook led to a 40% reduction in the time required for new technical writers to become fully productive. Feedback from new hires indicated a 50% increase in satisfaction with the onboarding process, citing the handbook as a critical resource for understanding their role and responsibilities.


The handbook also contributed to improved consistency and quality in the team's documentation outputs, as new writers had a clear reference for standards and practices. Overall, the handbook helped create a more structured and supportive onboarding experience, reducing turnover and enhancing team efficiency.

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