Authoring Tools For Startups

In last few years, I have worked with a few startups as a contractor. Either they had just launched a product and were connecting with their first customers, or they were about to launch.

A startup has a different approach to documentation:

  • Priority and Urgency: Customers are their only priority, and so they need minimum content to help guide their first customers.
  • Minimum Viable Content: They often need MVC to begin with; they cannot afford to dedicate exclusive time or resources for documentation. Mark Baker has an excellent post titled In Praise of Short Term Thinking that is quite relevant to startups’ documentation strategy.
  • Team, SME: Most often, startup teams are small, and the owner or CTO is our SME.
  • On Board: Startups cannot afford a technical writer on board; they do not plan to hire one either, and they are not sure if they will have ever have a permanent writer on board.
  • Long term Strategy: When I try to learn their long term documentation vision, they are not sure of it (e.g., other deliverables, whether different documents for different users, multiple languages).
  • Budget: Startups are often low on budget (even if funded).

This is a snapshot of my guest post on Tom Johnson’s blog idratherbewriting, see Authoring Tools for Startups.