How to write internal documentation that works - Deepstash
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Creating internal documentation

Creating internal documentation

When creating documentation, you're not speaking to people with institutional knowledge.

You're speaking either to people who sit outside your team and aren't privy to your department's lingo, or to the newbies who don't yet know their CRMs from their CMSs. 


86 reads

Don't get bogged down by the details

For overarching processes, it's better to whittle down the writing to a digestible format, with enough detail for it to be comprehensible, but not so in-depth that any tiny change in the process would make the whole lot moot. 

If your internal docs are so convoluted that you break down every single process and concept within that process in agonizing detail, you and your readers are in for a rough time. You're also going to have a field day when something inevitably changes and you need to update your docs to match. 


52 reads

Keep your processes straightforward

If the process is complicated, the documentation will be too. If you can't explain something in straightforward terms, you should correct the process until you can.

Your processes—and the documents explaining them—should aim for what helps the most people, not what helps a few people the most. 


51 reads

Replace jargon with plain language

Whether it's training materials, employee handbooks, or standard operating procedures, laying out everything in a non-daunting way can bring new team members up to speed faster.

Steven Pinker describes this phenomenon as "the curse of knowledge." He coined the term to describe what happens when experts overestimate the knowledge level of non-experts. We tend to assume too much knowledge, don't provide enough context, and fail to define abbreviations or jargon we take for granted. 


41 reads

Include broader context about each team

Having a strong company culture isn't something you can just declare. It takes deliberate action to bring people together and to make every department accessible. 

So: how do clear communications better company culture? For one thing, internal documents are a great way to establish the company in terms of character and style for employees. If employees feel like they're a part of something that they know and understand, they'll perform better. 


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