Aditi Kashikar, Product Documentation Leader of Automation Anywhere joins us in this episode of Knowledgebase Ninjas.
Connect with Aditi Kashikar and view Automation Anywhere’s Knowledgebase here:
Aditi’s journey into documentation…
Aditi’s journey began after she completed her post-graduate diploma in mass communications. She has always loved writing and expressing herself through words. One of her family friends told her about technical writing and that a career in technical documentation could be an option for her.
Aditi enrolled in a few short courses to gain knowledge about technical writing tools. After she completed these, Akash Dubey the founder of Technical Writers of India, was looking to hire a technical writer for his team and choose Aditi.
Automation Anywhere’s documentation process…
Automation Anywhere have the majority of their content online, this means that they are able to keep their content up to date and refreshed. They follow a CICD (Continuous Integration Continuous Development) approach when it comes to their online documentation. CICD means that they closely engage with product management and engineering teams in the requirements gathering and backlog phases. This also ensures that they are aware of the documentation scope that is going to come up when supporting the product release.
The majority of the company works in Jira, they use this software to identify the documentation scope, assess the impact and effort, then create documentation user stories and tasks which are then assigned to different writers to work on over the period of the release.
The writers within Aditi’s team are very hands-on with the products, they are seen as a surrogate user. They start by completing a user and task analysis, for every new feature or enhancement. Aditi’s team aim to work closely with SME’s, developers, and testers. Automation Anywhere has a very robust quality process, not only does they give self and peer review but their documentation also proceeds through very thorough structural and developmental editing by their content architect and technical editor.
Every documentation piece they are looking to publish has to be approved and signed off by the product managers. They want to make sure that they cover the business and functional aspects of technical content.
Aditi has made sure that her team doesn’t just cover task-based content (e.g. how to’s) but they cover the what’s and why’s… for example:
- Why would a user want to read this content?
- What are they going to get out of it?
- How are they going to achieve their goals?
This ensures that the technical content is in line with the overall product messaging as well.
Aditi’s most important factors when creating documentation…
Truly understand the audience you are writing content for! For any product, feature, and capability there can be multiple users, you really need to understand the user personas and user profiles.
- What are the goals your users are trying to achieve when using your product?
This is only half of the battle.
Most of the time writers tend to start thinking too much like the SME’s they closely work with. It’s important to take a step back and to see the bigger picture, and aim to also work with the customer-facing peers so that you understand what users’ usage scenarios are.
Aditi adds to this by saying that your content should be up to date and accurate so that your users are seeing fresh content each time they visit the knowledgebase.
Who has Aditi learned from the most throughout her career?
She mentions her first employer who had a lot of faith in Aditi, as well as Kathy Clemens who is working closely with Aditi at Automation Anywhere.
Aditi’s #1 documentation related resource…
Aditi is currently listening to a lot of podcasts and one of her favourites is hosted by BrightTalk:
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