Sometimes Dragons

Technical Communication Reviews: A New RedMonk Offering

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Image of Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, and Dan Akroyd from the 1984 film Ghostbusters. All three point at the viewer as part of an in-film commercial; the text and fictitious phone number "Ghostbusters 555-2368" scroll across the bottom of the screen.
“We’re ready to believe you” commercial from the 1984 film Ghostbusters

In the past year or so my RedMonk colleagues and I have spent a good amount of time working with clients on technical communication strategies and content. As I note in my list of 2020 research interests, strong technical communication resources support developer adoption, while the lack or disarray of such resources can hinder young startups and seasoned enterprises alike. Perhaps Claire Giordano puts it best in her excellent talk from GlueCon 2019 when she states “Documentation is one of the BEST forms of marketing.” While I find myself citing this quote a lot when talking tech comm strategy, I also supplement it by arguing that tech comm more broadly should be seen as an integral part of any developer relations strategy. 

In order to better meet increasing demand and help streamline the process of working with RedMonk on technical communication, we’ve packaged technical communication reviews as a service offering to our clients. Details are below, but, in short, we’re ready to read (some of) your documentation.

Analysis

We can review your company’s website, blog posts, documentation, demos, training materials, tutorials, and beta walkthroughs. Comprehensive tech comm reviews include an assessment of all aspects of an asset including pathways to and through an asset. Targeted tech comm reviews focus on a small part or functionality of a given asset. In addition to the initial assessment, reviews can be performed iteratively as materials are developed or revised. RedMonk will identify parts of the asset that are effective and make recommendations for areas in need of logical or strategic improvement. 

RedMonk can evaluate aspects such as: 

  • Purpose 
  • User and Audience Experience
  • Content Effectiveness
  • Organization of Materials 
  • Context Suitability
  • Usability 
  • Discoverability
  • Voice, Tone, and Pitch 

Deliverables & Rates

Analysis can be delivered through a written evaluation, a readout and discussion via a conference call, or a combination of both. For iterative reviews, RedMonk will assess updates implemented as a result of previous recommendations. Cost and prep time will vary depending upon the size and number of assets under review, the depth of analysis, and the types of deliverable requested. A review of a blog post delivered via readout will usually require fewer hours than a  formal written review of a lengthy tutorial that necessitates walking through new tech.

Sample Client Engagements

  • Series of iterative reviews of product positioning, demo presentation, and technical documentation.
  • Evaluation of guided walkthroughs accompanying the beta release of a SaaS product.
  • Extensive gap analysis of an enterprise’s introductory pathways, videos, and knowledge base for emergent tech.
  • Scenario-based advisory of technical documentation for a single product in an enterprise portfolio.
  • Review of persona-based information pathways and user documentation for a product suite.
  • Process discussion for integrating technical communication asset production into software delivery pipelines.

Working with RedMonk on Tech Comm

Technical communication reviews are just one of the many services we offer through our client subscriptions. If you are interested in becoming a RedMonk client or have a question about our services, please contact us at [email protected]. I am also happy to take questions about our tech comm offering (or to talk anything tech comm related, really) at [email protected].

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