12 Types of Technical Documentation and Why you Business Needs Them [Updated Sept 2023]

Technical Documentation

Behind every company’s success, regardless of the industry, is a series of effectively written technical documentation. Whether the goal is to give information to consumers, business partners, or internal teams, the company must ensure these documents get their goals and messages across.

This article will discuss the different types of technical documentation and what they mean. The more knowledge and expertise you have in these documents, the further you can improve the company’s sales and marketing. Let’s get started.

The 12 Types of Technical Documentation

Technical documentation  is a bible for all the information on specific software and tools we use in our businesses. While often ignored in the bigger picture, these documents help improve user experience and bring projects to fruition.

There are three categories of technical documentation, namely:

  • Product Documentation
  • Process Documentation
  • Sales and Marketing Documentation

Under these categories are the 12 types of technical documentation, starting with:

Product-Based Technical Documents

Technical documentation is a cornerstone of product understanding and usage. Whether it’s a tangible item like a machine or intangible software, having a clear and concise guide can greatly enhance user experience and safety.

This section will look into product-based types of technical documents, from product manuals to API documentation, that cater to a spectrum of needs for end-users and developers.

1.    Product Manuals

Product manuals serve as the ultimate guide to using a specific product. You’ll find these documents containing various procedures, specifications, and formulations, depending on the nature of the product.

Product manuals should help you identify its parts and functions if it’s a physical product. On the other hand, consumable products like food or medicine can have manuals that give information on nutrition facts, suggested servings, and dosages.

2.    Repair Manuals

Whenever certain products malfunction or get damaged, people rely on repair manuals to fix them. In this document, you’ll find a list of instructions on how to deal with different product issues or hardware problems.

It’s essential to anticipate all sorts of product concerns when drafting repair manuals. There’s also a need for accessibility, so basic terms are recommended over technical ones.

3.    User Guides

User guides, as the name implies, make people’s lives easier. It mostly involves explaining how apps, electronic gadgets, and other products function.

The key to giving a user-friendly experience in products isn’t only based on the product itself but also its user guide.

4.    SDK (Software Development Kit) Documentation

SDK documents are responsible for helping users with a specific software application. These documents contain various tools, supporting documents, code samples, and guides for creating software applications in a particular platform.

It’s basically a library of resources for developers.

5.    API (Application Programming Interface) Documentation

While “Application Programming Interface” may sound complicated and intimidating, it only means connecting or integrating apps. An API document serves as a guide for developers about how they can incorporate one product with another.

Since these documents are mainly for internal teams, they must have detailed information on the API’s classes, functionalities, and return types.

Process-Based Technical Documents

Technical documents are important when structuring, guiding, and facilitating various business operations. This section dives into different types of technical documentation designed for process-based solutions: Business Standards, Project Plans, and Test Schedules. Each serves a unique purpose, from establishing company benchmarks to paving the way for project completion and ensuring software quality.

6.    Business Standards

Business standards refer to documents explaining business operations, rules, and benchmarks. You’ll often see these documents during employee onboarding and orientations.

When creating a business standard, it’s important to embody the company’s core values and benchmarks. The goal is to reflect these values to the reader so that they can align themselves with the company’s mission and vision.

7.    Project Plans

Project roadmaps, goals, and objectives are gathered in collective documents called project plans. These documents are necessary for the completion of certain projects, as it structures them to their end goal.

It’s crucial for the documents in a project plan to be organized to create unity between project heads and participants. It should also have details on key dates for efficient progress tracking.

8.    Test Schedules

Test schedules are necessary technical documents for testing software. These documents help developers plan and assign resources, such as engineers and equipment needed for the test.

Not only do they help with resources in the planning stage, but they also reduce the risks involved in software testing by anticipating potential issues. You must first have a test plan describing how the tests will be tracked, reviewed, and approved to create a test schedule.

Sales and Marketing Technical Documents

Some other technical documentation examples are designed for sales and marketing efforts, each uses different types of technical writing for different customer journey phases and the sales and marketing process.

These documents play a crucial role in establishing trust and credibility, from white papers that position a company as an industry expert to case studies that showcase product efficacy and RFPs that bridge the gap between businesses and their potential partners. Dive into this section to understand their significance and the best practices for creating them.

9.    White Papers

White papers are commonly used for advocating a specific position or the best solution to a particular problem. You can also use these documents to influence the audience outside the company or prospective customers.

Writers should focus on showcasing their expertise on the product and delivering value rather than selling it to create an effective white paper. You’ll need these documents to market your company and build trust among potential partners or clients.

10. Case Studies

If customers are looking for credibility in the efficacy of a company’s product, they often look for case studies. These documents prove how valuable the product is by citing instances when it helped a customer achieve desired results.

What matters in case studies is the authenticity of the data it provides. Therefore, it’s crucial to interview past customers who were satisfied with the product.

11. Market Requirements Documentation (MRD)

An MRD is usually written by a product marketing manager or product manager to define the demand for a product. These strategic documents contain the product’s vision, business analysis, and revenue opportunities.

To make an efficient MRD, you’ll need to gather data on customer demographics, market opportunities, market problems, etc. At the core of this document are a customer’s needs and your product competitors.

12. RFPs (Request For Proposals) and Proposals

An RFP serves as a document that gathers bids for a certain project or service. Organizations and enterprises use this to elicit a response from potential vendors.

On the other hand, proposals help persuade investors and customers to avail the company’s services or purchase its product.

Both documents gear towards acquiring business partners such as clients, vendors, and customers. To make them effective, you must ensure the RFP and proposals reflect the company’s background, project overview, and goals.

Conclusion

Is technical documentation important? The answer is, of course, a resounding yes! But have I convinced you that all types of technical documentation are crucial for your business? Clear and easily understandable documentation, whether product-based, process-based, or sales and marketing technical documents, is essential.

At ZZ Servers, we understand the importance of technical documentation and offer a range of services to support businesses in this aspect. Our team of experts can assist you with creating product manuals, repair manuals, user guides, and SDK documentation. We can also help you develop business standards, project plans, and test schedules. Additionally, our services extend to sales and marketing technical documents such as white papers, case studies, MRDs, RFPs, and proposals.

By leveraging our IT management and cybersecurity expertise, we can ensure that your technical documentation is comprehensive and aligned with industry best practices. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today to learn how we can help you create high-quality technical documents that effectively communicate with your target audience and support your business goals.

Let Us Help You Streamline Your Technical Documentation

Are you struggling with creating clear and concise technical documentation for your products, processes, or sales and marketing materials? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Contact ZZ Servers today and let our team of experts assist you in streamlining your technical documentation.

With our range of services, including IT management and cybersecurity, we can help you create product manuals, repair manuals, user guides, SDK documentation, business standards, project plans, test schedules, test plans, white papers, case studies, MRDs, RFPs, and proposals.

Don’t let poor readability or ineffective communication hinder your business success. Reach out to us now and discover how our services can support you in creating technical documentation that not only meets industry standards but also effectively connects with your target audience. Let’s work together to enhance your documentation and drive your business forward.

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