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SMART Goals and Technical Writing

16th February 2012 Posted in Blog, Documentation 2 Comments

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We all have goals in our lives, but what does technical writing have to do with goal setting?

Though the term ‘goal setting’ might not be used, the practice of setting goals can help clarify the ideas being presented in a document, and having a goal can make sure the writing stays on track.

SMART Goals Applied to Technical Writing

Using a common goal setting strategy – SMART – here is how technical writing can be made more effective:

  • S – Specific – The technical details need to be specific to show the instructions a user will need to follow, including steps in a process, tools being used, etc.
  • M – Measurable – The impact of using the technical documentation needs to be measurable, i.e. if you follow a certain process you will have ____________ outcome.
  • A – Attainable – The documentation needs to be attainable in terms of what it is teaching to the audience, i.e. if the user is not high-level, then the writing needs to written to a lower level.
  • R – Realistic – Consider how realistic the goals for the writing are, and whether the target outcome can be achieved every time.
  • T – Timely – The writing in a document needs to function in a certain time period, or it needs to be timely in terms of information that is up to date.
  • When a technical writer considers all of these steps, they are better able not only to convey information, but also to create an effective document, one that can be used year after year for a multitude of users who can come to rely on the information.
  • Can technical writing be SMART?  Absolutely.

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    1. By Harryon 17th, February 2012 at 10:45 pm

      Great advice on goal setting.

      You may want to check out, a very nicely built web app designed for tracking goals and todo lists, and supports time tracking too. It’s clear, focused, easy to navigate, worth a try.

    2. By editoron 20th, February 2012 at 5:03 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Harry.

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