Business Analysis – BA Collective – Documentation No one likes to read documentation. And who can blame them. When is the last time you picked up a user manual? Its probably been awhile. No one even prints documentation anymore. You can maybe find an odd PDF file here or there, and then you have two choices: you can print it out and kill a few trees at your own expense, or you can read it online. Most people dont do either.

When people dont read documentation, its as much a reflection on the writer as it is on the reader.

Thats where the Business Analyst comes in. The Business Analyst is a bi-lingual communicator. The BA speaks the language of Business and of Technology. And each language has many dialects, colloquialisms, and subtle slang in its vernacular. When the BA writes documentation, it needs to command not only the attention, but the respect of its audience. Here are three things to consider when developing documentation as a Business Analyst.

First, balance Documentation Style and Substance * Well-written documentation, formatted and laid-out poorly, is not well-written documentation. * Know your audience. Who are you writing for? * Also, usability isnt just for software; its for documentation, too. Create great documentation that is easy to read. * And remember Re-usability is as important as usability. * Last, if your company/project/SDLC doesnt have a Style Guide, create one.

A second suggestion is to use Microsoft Word to its Full Potential * Know the basic controls for properly formatting documents. * Get it right and then make a template. * And stylesheets are your friend. Use them. * Its easy to master documentation by using Master Documents. Master documents allow you to: specialize, customize, assemble, disassemble, and change scope on a dime

The last suggestion is to create a Documentation Platform and Strategy * It establishes a single known go-to source for all documentation. Plus, network locations provide for security and backup. * Its easy to keep documentation up to date while maintaining historical versions of documents. * It can notify appropriate audience members regarding new versions of documents. * And can provide workflow, online review, approval, sign-off, and audit functions.

Well that is it for today but the BA Collective does not stop. Go to the BA Collective to view more from this article on Documentation written by Andrew Kass the CIO of Collective Genius. Also, stay tuned for up coming Business Analysis videos and articles at

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