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How to Find the Right Template to Write a Document for Free
Writing documents can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not sure where to start. Fortunately, there are many free templates available online that can help you get started. Here are some tips on how to find the right template to write a document for free.
The first step in finding the right template is to search online. There are many websites that offer free document templates, so it’s important to take some time to browse through them and find one that best suits your needs. When searching, make sure to look for templates that are easy to use and have all the features you need.
Check Out Professional Templates
If you’re looking for a more professional-looking template, then it’s worth checking out some of the paid options available online. Professional templates often come with more features and customization options than free ones, so they can be worth the investment if you need something more polished and professional-looking.
Look for User Reviews
Finally, it’s always a good idea to read user reviews before downloading any template. This will help you get an idea of how well the template works and if there are any issues or problems with it. Reading user reviews can also give you an insight into how easy or difficult it is to use the template, which can be helpful when trying to decide which one is right for you.
Finding the right template to write a document for free doesn’t have to be difficult. By following these tips, you should be able to find one that meets your needs and helps you create a professional-looking document quickly and easily.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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How to Create Project Documentation with Examples & Benefits
Category: Standard Operating Procedures
Last updated on Oct 31, 2023
Table of Contents
What is project documentation, benefits of project documentation, types of project documentation, how to create project documentation, best practices in writing project documentation, choosing the right software for project documentation.
Launching a new project is exciting. You’re in a race to get started and implement this project which you are sure will make a huge difference to your business. But wait.
First, you need to create robust product requirement documentation that clearly defines your goals and the scope of your work. The success of a project is highly dependent on the thoroughness of documentation which gives a project direction and accountability.
With project documentation in place, there will be fewer unpleasant surprises concerning the project. Everyone on the project team is on the same page and has greater visibility into the nature of the project.
It’s important to start with a project documentation definition.
Project documentation is very simple. It’s a collection of all the documents relating to a project, containing core project specifications, goals to aim for, budgets, risks, and many more subjects that are vital to know about. Documentation can be consulted by team members when they want to find out the status of the project, what work still needs to be completed, or client requirements.
If you create project documents, the project has transparency and everyone is working from the same playbook. You can track how well the project is going and whether it is meeting requirements. If someone has a question about a previous stage of the project, you can check the documentation records for a definitive answer.
Also Read: The Ultimate Guide to Create a Business Playbook
There may be Project Managers out there who feel like they don’t have time to invest in making any kind of project document. It’s hard enough to get a project off the ground without having to create numerous documents that may or may not get read.
We’re here to tell you that project documentation has numerous benefits.
Keep project tasks and progress traceable
When you have thorough project management documentation, the roles and responsibilities of each team member are clearly defined. The project tasks and progress are traceable as you know who is supposed to complete what work by what deadline. This means you can track the project much more effectively and understand whether you are on target.
Improve communication between stakeholders and the team
Project documentation makes your assumptions about a project explicit. Stakeholders can understand what a project involves, how much it’s going to cost and how long it’s going to take. Any information relating to the project is readily available so that clear communication is made possible. Changes to the project are immediately conveyed so that stakeholders are always kept up-to-date on the status of the project.
Describe the methodologies and techniques beforehand
When you define your project documentation, you can outline the methodologies and techniques you are going to use beforehand which will lead to a more successful project. Documenting your methodologies means everyone can follow along and they know what to expect, because your project is more consistent.
Define and assign responsibilities with more accuracy
Project documentation allows you to clearly state who is assigned which tasks and ultimately responsible for which deliverables. When someone wants to ask a question about the project, they can easily see who is taking care of the relevant aspect and employees also spend less time duplicating work. Tasks don’t fall through the cracks as everyone knows who should be delivering what.
Improve deliverable and success rate
If your team knows what the deliverables are then they are more likely to be able to meet their targets. They can continually refer back to the documentation to find out the goals of the project and ensure that they are on track. Deliverables are given milestones and timelines to ensure that the team is held accountable and able to complete the project successfully.
Teams are more productive when they have access to the latest project documentation. They know what is within and without their scope of work and are better placed to meet the demands placed on the project team. They know which tasks are the highest priority and are more able to balance their workload. Projects are completed more quickly as everyone is working at full capacity with an understanding of their role in the process.
Mitigate the risk of losing information
Documenting your project means you are much less likely to lose information that could be valuable later down the line. It’s easy to forget what was said in meetings and projects become confused as everyone is relying on verbal communication to get things done. When you later want to look back on a project and learn from it, you have a written record of what took place.
The project charter is the foundation stone of your project documentation that communicates the scope of your project. It outlines the project’s objectives, the stakeholders who will be participating in the project, and who will be responsible for what. The project charter is created at the start of a project’s lifecycle and is continually referenced as the project unfolds.
Statement of Work (SOW)
A statement of work is more detailed than a project charter and it contains a project’s specifications. The statement of work details the project’s deliverables, timelines, and budgets and it may be exchanged between a company and a client to act as an informal contract for the work to be undertaken.
Leave no room for errors by documenting your procedures!
Requirement documentation explains clearly what the end result of the project will or will not do. The product has a particular purpose and must achieve specific ends in order to fulfill the needs of a certain user group.
Stakeholder communication outlines procedures relating to how your project team will communicate with stakeholders during the project’s lifecycle. It explains in detail exactly how communication will occur, from the channels used to communicate to the frequency of communication.
When changes need to be made to the initial project plan they should be asked for and documented in the change management log . This keeps track of all the alterations to a project and includes the reason for the requested change, plus the person who is responsible for asking for the change.
Risk Analytics and Documentation
In risk analytics you should include all the potential risks of your project and their likelihood of occurring as part of your risk management plan, and what you will do to prevent them.
Issue logs are lists that help you stay on top of project issues as they come up and understand the impact that they have on the project. You record when the issue happened, a description of the issue and the action required and by whom.
We’ll talk you through how to make project documentation in six simple steps.
Step 1: Collect all requirements and related in a central repository
First of all, your project documentation needs to be collected in one place where team members and other stakeholders can easily access it. You might begin your project documentation process with documents spread out all over the place, in email chains, Word docs, Slack messages, PDF files, and more. It’s vital to bring all your documentation into a centralized repository which will function as a single source of truth that employees can check whenever they have a question.
Step 2: Be descriptive of the process and stages of the project
Next, make sure you give detailed descriptions of the project management process and the stages of the project. The different stages of the project management process all require different types of documents, ranging from planning to execution to completion. For example, your project charter is something that will be written at the beginning of the project while your issue log will be created and updated throughout the project lifecycle.
Step 3: Organize the information by stages and topics
Once you’ve created your project documentation, use your project documentation tool to organize the information into stages and topics. Different types of documents like your project status updates and project charter belong in different sections depending on what stage of the project planning process they’re at.
Step 4: Collaborate with your team on reviews
Your project documentation should be a team effort. Even if you’re a Project Manager tasked with creating a whole body of project documentation, you can benefit from the contributions of your team on reviews that help improve your documentation. They can tell you what is unclear, what is missing from your project documentation, and anything that is out-of-date. Incorrect documentation can damage the credibility of your project and confuse your team members, so reviews are essential.
Step 5: Publish the documents, add tags and indexing
Once you’ve got your project documentation up to a good standard, publish it in a documentation portal and make sure you add tags and index it with search. Your documentation should be easy to find by anyone who is searching for it and your documentation should show related articles for better content discovery.
Step 6: Maintain the documentation and update it
This is the final step in how to prepare documentation for a project. Your project documentation is a living entity that must be continually updated and maintained for comprehensiveness and freshness. Set aside an hour for every work to go through your documentation and identify documents that could benefit from revision. Keep certain documents updated like your issue log or your change management log.
Also read: External Documentation: Best Practices, Tips & Examples
Define the scope of the project
You must clearly lay out the terms of the project, defining what is within the scope of the project and what lies outside it. This guards against scope creep and ensure everyone knows what the project involves and what success looks like. A project could go on forever if you just keep adding things to do to the scope.
An intuitive project documentation software to easily add your content and integrate it with any application. Give Document360 a try!
Set up a team (contributors, reviewers, editor or publisher)
Bring a team together to collaborate on your project documentation. Your team must consist of contributors, reviews, editors and publishers so they can take your content through the entire lifecycle. Everyone has a different role to play in bringing your documentation through to completion and ensuring that it is created to the highest standard.
Identify topics and sub-topics
Identify all the areas in which your project documentation could be usefully divided into topics and sub-topics. Make a plan of all the documentation you want to create and systematically work your way through going topic by topic. Your documentation should be clearly organized in a systematized way so anyone can browse through your content to find what they need.
Be specific about expected results
You must clearly explain what you hope to achieve with your project so your team knows when your project has been successful. Specifically layout the expected results and when you think you will get there, with a solid definition of done. Articulate the final product in the most descriptive terms possible and make it clear to everyone involved.
Document technical parameters and environment requirements
If you’re working on a technical project then you’re going to need to document technical parameters and environment requirements. Make sure everyone knows the specifications needed and the technologies that will be involved in executing your project. Really go into detail about the requirements so there is no doubt in anyone’s mind about the project’s dependencies.
Compose project deliverable
Get really clear about what is going to be delivered at the end of the project after your definition of done. This could be a new mobile app or a new community center. Whatever your deliverable, get clear about what it is and how it will benefit the company when you’ve built it. What will be the tangible results of your project and how will you know when it has been delivered?
Assess Quality, Scope, Risk, Training, and Cost
When documenting your project, assess:
- Quality – how will you ensure the quality of your project outcome?
- Scope – what is included in the boundaries of the project and what isn’t?
- Risk – what are the natural risks associated with your project and how will you tackle them?
- Training – what training is required to build the necessary skills for the completion of the project?
- Cost – how much will the project cost and what is the budget for it?
Refresh and update documents with version history
Use a documentation tool that allows you to store the version history for every document so you can refer back to it whenever necessary. Regular updates to your project documentation may result in a need to revert back to previous versions sometimes as you might need to remind yourself of the history of the project
If you’re engaging in the documentation of a project, you’ll need to have the right tools in place to store your documents and share them with your team. A good choice for project documentation is a company knowledge base , which is centrally managed by a team of contributors.
Document360 is one such tool, and it will help you get up and running with your project documentation using its stylish and intuitive interface. You can use the WYSIWYG or the markdown editor , and the category manager to organize your content into topics. The simple drag-and-drop UI allows you to rearrange categories with just a few clicks.
You can build a private , login-required, knowledge base for employees or clients so your documentation is always secure. Take advantage of Document360’s integrations and extensions with popular apps so you can expand the functionality of your knowledge base.
With Document360, you can view version history between multiple article versions or roll back to a prior version. You don’t have to worry about accidentally overwriting the content with automatic source control.
It’s clear by now that if you are a Project Manager, your project is in desperate need of documentation to bring clarity and organization to your team. If you’re running a small project, you won’t need too much documentation or you might find your team getting weighed down with documents. Larger projects need more documentation naturally, as they are more complex and involve more moving parts.
Whatever your project documentation needs, make sure you get started with a tool like Document360, which will help you create and share your documents with your team. You can keep all your documents in one centralized location and team members can take advantage of a powerful search to find the content they need.
Jun 14, 2022
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- Project Management
A Complete Guide on Project Documentation
Home Blog Project Management A Complete Guide on Project Documentation
There are many project managers who feel that documentation is an arduous task. It takes up considerable time and effort—and they might feel that there are many other pressing tasks that require more immediate focus, and documentation can easily be relegated to the back burner!
However, nothing can be further from the truth. Proper documentation ensures that project expectations are met, deliverables are on track, and tasks can be easily traced. In fact, the value of project documentation is felt most when there is a lack of it, as more often than not, the project goes astray when documentation processes are not given the attention they deserve. With the best PMP certification training , you will learn more concepts.
In this blog, you’ll find out why project documentation is important, what the benefits are, and how to get it right.
What Is Project Documentation?
Project documentation involves recording all the key details at every important stage of the project and creating the documents that are required to execute, monitor and control it successfully.
Project documentation can range from business proposal documents, business cases, time charts, project implementation plans, status reports and financial trackers, among many others.
Examples of Project Documents
Every organization will have its own ways of working and set of documentation templates that are followed, which have worked for them in the past. Small companies might be able to manage their initiatives with minimal paperwork, but larger projects that span teams and geographies might require complex documentation to stay on track.
Some of the most basic types of documents that every project should maintain are the following:
1. Project Proposal
A project proposal is often the first document that is created for a project. It is a document that makes the case for going ahead with the project and outlines all the reasons why the project is worth pursuing. The core value proposition is laid out in the form of a business case which can be part of the project proposal.
2. Project Plan
A project proposal offers a high-level overview of the project, which is then fleshed out in the form of a Project Plan. This lays out the roadmap and defines project milestones and timeframes. Usually, the Project Plan is a live document that evolves over the course of the project, with all the new goals and changes added to it along the way.
3. Status Report
It’s important that everyone who is working on the project must be updated on the progress. This is done through a shared Status Report and helps to keep the team and external stakeholders in the know as to what is happening. The work done so far is captured, and a note is made of the next steps ahead.
4. Communication Plan
Smooth and transparent communication is of paramount importance to keep everyone on the same page. A well-laid out communication plan makes sure that all important information is shared and is always available for reference.
5. Project Retrospective
At the end of the project, the team sits together to determine what went well and what could, perhaps, have been done a bit better. The Retrospective document lists out all the lessons learned and can be used by other teams so that they can learn from your mistakes.
The Value of Project Documentation
Project documentation offers immense value across all the different stages of a project. Right from the initiation phase, through the execution phase and the completion phase, various kinds of documents can be created to plan, and manage quality, budgets and time schedules and control scope, risk and so on.
Most of us find that writing something down helps to pin our thoughts and ideas, and this is the primary reason behind creating a tangible document. A project document is no different. Some of the ways in which it adds value to the project are:
- It helps to clarify requirements, objectives and goals
- It lists out all tasks and helps to break them down into smaller chunks that are manageable
- A document helps to plan and allocate the right resources to the right task
- It creates clarity on the progress of work done so far and on how much is left to be done
- It creates transparency and gets everyone on the same page
- It facilitates and smoothens lines of communication between teams and within the team
- Project governance mandates are more easily managed
- It is easy to monitor, control and track the project
- Budgets, schedules and timelines can be managed
- Changes can be traced and managed easily
- New team members can come on board easily and get up-to-speed with the work that has been done so far
- Risks can be identified, evaluated and mitigated in time
- Knowledge can be shared, and lessons learned from one project can be transferred to the next.
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How to Create Project Documentation
The Project documentation process involves several steps to ensure comprehensive and effective documentation. It also contains a project implementation plan . Here are the general steps involved in the process:
Step 1: Identify and Collect all the Documentation Needs
Bringing all information required for project documentation together in a centralized location is the first step in documenting a project. Identify the types of documentation required for the project and gather all relevant information, including project objectives, scope, deliverables, timelines, resources, and stakeholders.
Step 2: Describe the Process and Stages of Project Management
Describe the project management process and project phases in detail. Different categories of documents are required for each phase of the project management process, from planning to execution to completion.
Step 3: Organize Document Structure
Structure the document by going through each step in order. Set up a structure for the documentation that is clear and provides meaning. Make sections or folders for each kind of document to make it easy to find and move around.
Step 4: Document Creation
Start making the project paperwork using the information and templates you've collected. Fill in the details, such as goals, tasks, deadlines, risks, and other important information.
Step 5: Review and Approval
Conduct a review of the project documentation to ensure its accuracy, completeness, and accordance with established guidelines. Share the draft documents with appropriate people for review and comments, such as project managers, team members, and subject matter experts. Revisions are made based on their feedback.
Step 6: Publish the Documents
Once you're satisfied with the quality of your project documentation, publish it in a documentation portal. The documentation should be easily accessible to anyone searching, and it should include links to related articles for enhanced content discovery.
Step 7: Maintenance of Project Documentation
Update and maintain the project documentation continuously throughout the project's lifecycle. As the project progresses, track modifications, additions, and deletions.
Step 8: Document Closure
As the project comes to a close, complete the documentation procedure. Ensure the long-term storage and accessibility of all project documentation for future reference or audits.
Project Documentation Templates
Working on templates is the easiest way to get started with your documentation. These templates are tested by expert project management practitioners and will save you considerable time and effort. Here are some project documentation templates that will help you in your process.
- Project Documentation Template I
- Project Documentation Template II
Project Documentation Process
Before you start developing the documentation for the project, first understand from stakeholders what is the purpose behind the project. Is it to develop a new product or service or to enhance something that already exists? What type of compliances must be in place, and are there any existing templates you can follow?
Some questions to help you get started:
- What are the goals and objectives?
- Has a similar project been completed recently? If so, are the documents available to use as references?
- Does your organization follow standard methods of project documentation?
- What are the technology and tools in use across teams?
- What is the budget and timeline, and what resources are available?
- How will you communicate across teams?
Once you have a basic idea about the project, make a list of the documents that you must create. If there are existing templates that your organization uses, get access to them. If not, do some research and find out which are the most useful online templates and trackers that you can use. Try a free subscription, and if you find it meets your needs, then ask for a paid subscription to the tool. It will save you time and effort in the long run, so the price of the subscription will be repaid many times over the course of the project.
Documentation Tips to Ensure that You Get it Right
Set the right processes in place from the get-go, and do not leave all the documentation for a particular day of the week. You might tend to forget to note down something of key importance. Communication often happens across multiple mediums, like chat, emails, and even WhatsApp or shared online folders. From the start, insist that all important details are shared in one place so that it becomes easy to cull the most important points and note them down in a relevant document or tracker.
Make sure the search feature is in place
Whatever may be document tool you use, it should allow for easy searching, both by name and date. The user interface should be very easy to use, even by a newbie, and should be simple to navigate.
Do not get into too much detail
Every document does not need to get into the details. Keep it crisp and concise without leaving out anything of critical importance. Just-in-time documentation is often followed in Agile, where a document contains only enough detail to get the task off the ground.
Share and collaborate
Documents are of little use unless they are shared. Maintain your documents in a live, evolving format where all changes are documented and real-time progress is easily tracked.
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Tools to Use for Project Documentation
There are many online tools and trackers that are proven to add immense value to project documentation. Google Docs, Microsoft SharePoint, Asana, Proofhub, Trello and Nuclino are some commonly used tools that streamline and simplify project documentation processes. Depending on how mature your project team is, you can pick a tool that offers the most appropriate solutions to share knowledge and track progress.
Pick the right tool based on these parameters:
- It should be intuitive and easy for all project stakeholders to use without having to get specific training.
- It should be easy to search and navigate.
- It should have the ability to be used by multiple users at the same time without any loss of information.
- It should have multiple logins if required and should have the capability of being locked so that data does not get deleted in error.
- It should be easily integrated with other software.
While documentation might seem very tedious, improper or inadequate documentation in a project could be one of the foremost reasons for project delays. In extreme cases, it could even be a contributor to the failure of the project. As a good project manager, you can increase the efficiency of your project and improve the chances of project success by maintaining the right amount of clear, well-articulated documentation at the most important stages through the lifecycle of the project.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Documentation for a project is used as a complete reference and helps to understand, manage, and maintain a project.
Examples of documentation include user manuals, technical specifications, project plans, API documentation, and training materials.
With comprehensive project management documentation, each team member's roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, and effective communication and knowledge transfer are facilitated.
Kevin D. Davis is a seasoned and results-driven Program/Project Management Professional with a Master's Certificate in Advanced Project Management. With expertise in leading multi-million dollar projects, strategic planning, and sales operations, Kevin excels in maximizing solutions and building business cases. He possesses a deep understanding of methodologies such as PMBOK, Lean Six Sigma, and TQM to achieve business/technology alignment. With over 100 instructional training sessions and extensive experience as a PMP Exam Prep Instructor at KnowledgeHut, Kevin has a proven track record in project management training and consulting. His expertise has helped in driving successful project outcomes and fostering organizational growth.
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How to Create Project Documentation in 5 Steps [Templates & Examples]
Project management is an indispensable part of all business functions.
Sure, assembling a capable team is crucial, but there’s another secret ingredient that ensures your projects stay on the right path: dedicated project documentation.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “More paperwork? Isn’t that just adding to the workload when we already have a stellar team?”
Well, hold onto your seat because you’re about to discover the incredible benefits that come with this seemingly mundane task.
Imagine a world where paperwork is reduced, your teams are effortlessly aligned, project gaps are identified and resolved, and progress is meticulously tracked. Sounds pretty amazing, right? That’s exactly what project documentation can do for you.
Dive into this blog to learn how to write project documentation, explore its impressive benefits, get access to templates, and much more.
What is Project Documentation?
Project documentation is an online document comprising information related to project details, milestones met, targets achieved, changes accommodated, and much more. This document acts as a centralized reference point where teams can quickly find the information they need to complete certain tasks, track progress, or check recent updates.
From project reports and business cases to project plans, proposals, budgets, and risks, this documentation contains all the necessary information required to manage projects with ease.
By consolidating all project information in one place, this documentation brings clarity to the project management process and helps teams stay on the same page. While this keeps the confusion at bay, team alignment and productivity also witness a substantial improvement.
Why Is Project Documentation a Must for Your Business?
Do you know why projects fail?
Well, there are multiple reasons for that. From inaccurate requirements gathering to changes in project objectives, there are various reasons that cause project delays and failures.
With well-written and meticulously structured project documentation, you can avoid most of these problems.
As a centralized space where all project details are clearly mentioned, project documentation ensures that everyone in the team is aware of the project goals, developments, vision, and scope.
Your project teams will always have the most updated information at their disposal, which helps them perform tasks effectively. They can also document their learnings and analysis in this documentation for future reference.
There are many other benefits of creating project documentation, which we will explore in the next section.
Types of Project Documentation
Project documentation comes in various forms, each serving a specific purpose in managing and communicating project information. Here are some key types of project documentation you should be familiar with:
The project charter outlines the project’s purpose, objectives, scope, stakeholders, and high-level deliverables. It establishes the project’s foundation, providing clarity and alignment to all team members and stakeholders from the start.
The project plan details the approach, tasks, timelines, resources, and dependencies required to complete the project. It serves as a roadmap that guides your team throughout the project’s lifecycle, facilitating effective coordination and execution.
Requirements documentation captures the functional and non-functional requirements of the project. It specifies the features, capabilities, and constraints that the end product or service must meet. With clear and well-documented requirements, you can ensure that the project meets stakeholder expectations and runs smoothly as intended.
Change Control Documentation
Change control documentation outlines the procedures for requesting, reviewing, approving, and implementing changes to the project scope, schedule, or budget. It ensures that changes are carefully assessed and controlled to maintain project alignment with stakeholder requirements.
Status reports provide a snapshot of the project’s progress, including accomplishments, milestones reached, issues, risks, and upcoming activities. These reports help stakeholders monitor project performance and make informed decisions based on the project’s current status.
Read More: Best Software Documentation Tools for 2023
Astounding Benefits of Project Documentation
Poor alignment, miscommunication and lack of clarity are some of the key reasons that deviate projects from the right path.
Something as simple as building project documentation can streamline the entire process while maximizing the efficiency with which team members work.
Let’s look at some of the remarkable project documentation benefits in detail:
Eliminates Confusion & Drives Success
Often, project members lack clarity on project goals, client requirements, stakeholder expectations and milestones to be achieved. Project documentation has all essential project information explained in a detailed manner. This leaves little to no room for confusion and teams can carry out their project duties without any hassles.
Brings Transparency to the Process
It’s natural for project members to go off-track while working on projects. There can be inconsistencies in the pace and quality of task delivery.
With project documentation at their disposal, teams have a clear picture of what is done and what is pending. This transparency helps them ramp up their efforts, ensuring that projects are delivered on time always.
Assumptions, misinterpretations, and blame games in project management impact the overall team productivity and performance. With project documentation, team members have complete clarity of their roles and responsibilities, project scope, goals, and plans.
This means if something goes wrong, they can take accountability for their actions instead of blaming others.
Makes Project Tracing Easier
It’s natural for project managers to lose track of how the project is progressing while carrying out the day-to-day activities. Project documentation comprises thorough information on project progress, deadlines, and team workload. This makes it easy for managers to evaluate what worked well and what didn’t, as the project ends.
Identify Risks & Manage Them
Risks are a part of the project management process and your team should be well-prepared to handle them. A detailed project document outlines not just the project scope, plan, and goals, but also the potential risks and their solutions. With this document, you will have a clear idea of what kind of risks to expect and how to mitigate them.
How to Write Project Documentation in 5 Easy Steps
Now that you’re well-acquainted with the incredible benefits of project documentation, it’s time to equip yourself with the essential know-how to create it effectively.
It’s finally time to dive into the step-by-step process for crafting exceptional project documentation that sets you on the right path from the very beginning.
Step 1: Bring all Scattered Documents in One Place
You might have project information scattered across Word docs, interactive PDF files , Excel sheets, and Powerpoint presentations.
The first step to creating project documentation is to bring all this valuable information together in a centralized space.
Modern project documentation tools offer features that help you directly import such files to the document. This makes content transfer pretty simple and fast.
As for the missing information, you will have to write it from scratch. For example, if you do not have pre-built documents for project plans and scope, create articles on these topics after discussing them with your team.
This will put in place a single source of truth that your project team can instantly refer to every time they are stuck on a task or need assistance with something.
Step 2: Take it Stage by Stage
While writing project documentation, it is important to take the process step by step – one stage at a time.
For example, the initiation stage is about setting up the team and outlining the basic requirements. For this stage, the documentation should cover the project proposal, scope, and team structure.
After initiation comes the planning stage . For this stage, your project documentation should have thorough articles on the project plan, roadmap, communication strategy, and even the budget details.
For the execution phase , it is important to add project status reports and potential risks expected in the course of the project. This information is essential to keep team members aligned throughout the project lifecycle.
Changes are a vital part of any project. That makes change management an important stage in the process. Any changes requested by the client should be recorded in the change management section of the project documentation.
Teams can quickly go through this section to keep track of the changing client requests and alter their strategies accordingly.
Last comes the evaluation stage, when the project is delivered, and it’s time to assess what went right and what didn’t.
Project closure details and progress reports should be a part of your documentation for this stage. This will help you track the overall project and team performance and identify bottlenecks that posed hurdles in the project. They can then implement the learnings in future projects and achieve better outcomes
Step 3: Pave Way for Collaborative Authoring
From the previous step, it looks like project documentation is a comprehensive resource that is not possible for a single person to manage.
You need a strong team who have the dedication and passion to consistently record all that goes on in the project – every milestone achieved, deadline met, or change requests accepted!
By deploying a tool like ProProfs Knowledge Base, you can add users and assign relevant roles and permissions to each one of them. For instance, some users can work as contributors – the ones who will do all the writing work, and some can take charge of editing all that’s written to ensure quality is not compromised.
You can also assign the role of administrator to users who have proved themselves as capable managers. They are the ones who will take up the responsibility of overseeing every activity happening in the documentation, identifying gaps, and taking timely steps to ensure smooth operations.
For more details on how collaborative authoring really works, watch this quick video.
Step 4: Structure the Document & Make it Easy to Search
Project documentation loaded with useful information but lacking a logical structure is counterproductive. An unstructured document is likely to make your team members confused and indecisive.
Once you have all the information in place, try giving it a proper structure.
For example, you can create broad topics and their sub-categories to fit in all project details. You can also create a table of contents enlisting all sections and subsections of the document.
Follow a stage-by-stage approach while structuring the document. Start by adding topics related to the initiation stage and then drill down into more complex topics on project execution, closure, and progress reports, change management, etc.
For best results, you can make use of internal article linking to make information search even faster. This will save your team from mindless browsing and help them get what they need in just a few clicks.
Here’s an example of what the ideal documentation structure looks like:
Step 5: Let Your Team Review the Document Before Sharing
Project documentation is supposed to be highly reliable and comprehensive. That’s precisely why all team members should collaboratively work on the document right from the start to ensure a high level of quality and accuracy.
Creating articles is a heavy task and can take up a lot of your team’s time. In such situations, it’s natural for your team to sideline the review process and pass the content for publishing without taking a second look at it.
Inaccurate information can wreak havoc on your projects. It can spread wrong facts in the team and completely change the track of the project. Therefore, careful review and analysis of every articles is important before taking them live.
As and when articles are created, they should be thoroughly reviewed by editors and subject matter experts before publishing.
The best project documentation tools out there come with a dedicated workflow review and approval system that allows you to track the status of each article right from the time it is written to when it finally gets published. This reduces the chances of any article skipping the review process.
In the end, you can rest assured that everything that goes into your project documentation is free of errors and inaccuracies.
Step 6: Keep Updating the Documentation
The project management process is not static, so how can your document remain unchanged?
As your project progresses, there will be multiple changes in its plan, scope, client requirements, etc. Regularly maintaining project documentation ensures that teams always have the most updated information at their fingertips.
As a project documentation best practice, your team must keep checking the document for any inaccuracies and continue updating it with relevant information.
Manually tracking and making all the changes can consume more time than required.
Instead, you can use reports to track document performance and identify knowledge gaps.
For example, if you want to identify poorly rated articles or articles that are the most helpful for your teams, you can track metrics such as article upvotes and downvotes, total views, and reads. Once you know which articles are not received well by project members, consider improving them.
Additionally, you can also go through the comments left by team members to identify their pain points and take timely steps for performance improvement.
Best Practices for Writing an Impressive Project Document
Creating project documentation is the key to ensuring clarity, alignment, and success in your projects. It serves as a roadmap for your team, keeping everyone on track and focused on the project’s goals.
To help you create a stellar project document, here are seven best practices to follow:
Harness the Power of Visuals
To enhance user engagement and understanding, incorporate interactive elements into your project document. You can utilize clickable links, interactive charts, or multimedia content to provide a dynamic and immersive experience to all project stakeholders.
Interactive features and visual elements help present information in an impactful way, making it easier for stakeholders to grasp complex concepts faster.
Provide On-the-Go Mobile Access
Project documentation is only helpful if teams can access it on their mobile devices right when they need it.
You can optimize the document’s layout and design to ensure easy access and viewing on smartphones and tablets. By creating a mobile-friendly document, you enable stakeholders to access the information conveniently, even while they are away from their desks. This flexibility promotes better collaboration, decision-making, and responsiveness among the project team.
Make it Searchable & Easy to Navigate
Searchability and navigation are two crucial elements that should not be ignored.
You can implement a logical structure within your project document, using headings, subheadings, and a table of contents to facilitate easy navigation. Additionally, you can incorporate a search function that enables stakeholders to quickly locate specific information within the document.
A well-organized and searchable document saves time, enhances user experience, and ensures your teams get everything they need in seconds.
Define Clear Objectives
Kickstart your project document by articulating clear and concise objectives. These objectives serve as the guiding light, providing your teams with a clear idea of what the project aims to achieve.
As you start creating project documentation, clearly state the project’s purpose, desired outcomes, and measurable goals. Avoid ambiguity and ensure that stakeholders have a crystal-clear vision of the project’s direction.
With objectives clearly defined, you will be able to build a solid foundation for the project, align the team’s efforts, and drive action towards a common goal.
Deploy the Right Project Documentation Tool
Deploying the right project documentation tool can give your efforts the much-needed boost. It will equip you with all the bells and whistles you need to get started in the right direction and achieve an impressive document.
When investing in document collaboration tools , look for one that aligns with your team’s needs and offers collaborative features, version control capabilities, and customization options. With the right tool in place, it will be easier for your team to make content curation a collaborative process and simplify document management.
Best Project Documentation Templates
Writing project documentation can mean spending days or weeks doing the initial groundwork.
What if we told you there is a shortcut to the process?
Project documentation templates offer a ready-made framework, so you don’t have to do the heavy lifting. The templates take a lot of pressure off your shoulders by giving you a pre-defined table of contents, topic-relevant sections, a dedicated space for branding, and much more.
With these beautiful templates, your work is reduced to half, as you don’t have to work on a blank canvas.
As your project progresses, you may want to expand the template by adding more categories and information.
Examples of Project Documentation
While for large projects, the documentation is quite comprehensive, involving multiple change requests, documentation for small projects is mostly limited to the basics.
However, there are some sections that are standard for all project documentation, regardless of their size and scale.
Project proposal is all about ideating and communicating a project’s goals to clients and internal stakeholders. It gives a clear overview of project objectives, requirements, and value proposition. As part of the project proposal, you can highlight the number of resources that will work on the project, the budget allocation, timelines, and the key deliverables.
This document encapsulates everything that goes into the project planning stage. From outlining key milestones and their deadlines to setting the team, the project plan document covers it all. It acts as a roadmap for teams, guiding them in the right direction throughout the project lifecycle.
While the project plan covers the “What” part of project management, the project charter covers the “how”.
This document shows the process of achieving the goals established in the planning stage and also highlights the roles and responsibilities of all team members. The project charter provides a solid foundation for all activities that take place during the project.
Project Progress Report
Whether it is a large project or a small one, it’s crucial to keep everyone updated about how a project is progressing. This report highlights the project’s progress since the start, along with the bottlenecks that occurred during the process. It also shows the next steps you need to take to keep the progress on the right track.
Project evaluation is a vital part of project documentation. It brings into the spotlight both the best and the worst parts of the project. It shows how the project performed – what went well and what didn’t meet your expectations. Your team can use this as a reference and implement the lessons learned in the next project.
How to Choose the Right Project Documentation Software
To write impactful project documentation, you need a knowledgeable team. But to bring the documentation to life and share it with key stakeholders, you need the support of a solid tool.
Depending on your project’s size, scope, and requirements, you may need a simple tool with basic features or an advanced tool with unique functionality. There are different kinds of online documentation software available today, but how do you know which one is worth the investment?
Keep an eye for these top features when looking for project documentation software:
- Easy to use with little to no coding required
- Simple to set up without any specialized skills or training
- Ready-to-use documentation templates that help you get started quickly
- A smart search system that displays context-relevant results
- User management and access control to help teams work in collaboration
- Internal comments for team discussions on articles
- A workflow review and approval system to ensure content accuracy
- Robust integrations with tools like Slack and JIRA for smooth communication
These are the standard features that any tool you pick must have. Rest, depending on your requirements, you can also opt for tools with advanced features like reports and version control.
Set Your Projects for Success With Project Documentation
As a project manager, you may have to handle different types of projects simultaneously.
In such a high-pressure environment, it’s natural for you to lose sight of important project details. With up-to-date project documentation, you can rest assured that nothing important will slip through the cracks. You can easily track progress, identify bottlenecks, and fix them right in time.
To curate an impactful project document, bring all information to a central space, add relevant articles for different stages of project management , and give them a proper structure.
All these steps can be easily executed with the support of a powerful project documentation tool like ProProfs Knowledge Base. It has all the necessary features and functionality you need to kick off the process and take your projects on the road to success.
About the author
Brayn is a knowledge management expert. He has been published in CustomerThink , PointVisible and SocialPilot . As a customer support specialist at ProProfs, Brayn has been instrumental in building a robust knowledge base and documents that help support executives keep every customer delighted. You can catch up with Brayn on Twitter and LinkedIn .
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How to write good documentation: home, documentation.
Why to Write Documentation
Documentation effectively connects humans and machines.
Why writing documentation is important:
- You will be using your code in 6 months
- You want people to use your code and give you credit
- You want to learn self-determination
- Others would be encouraged to contribute to your code
- Others can easily use your code and build upon it
- Advance the science
- Encourage open science
- Allow reproducibility and transparency
What should you document about your research? Everything! All the data, notes, code, and materials someone else would need to reproduce your work.
Consider the following questions:
- How is your data gathered?
- What variables did you use?
- Did you use any code to clean/analyze your data?
Best Practices for Documenting Your Project
Best Practices for Writing Documentation:
- A brief description of the project
- Installation instructions
- A short example/tutorial
- Allow issue tracker for others
- What a function does
- What are the function's parameters or arguments are
- What a function returns
- Document your code
- Apply coding conventions, such as file organization, comments, naming conventions, programming practices, etc.
- Include information for contributors
- Include citation information
- Include licensing information
- Link to your e-mail address at the end
- List all the versions of the files along with the major edits you did in each version
An important tip: Naming files should be descriptive and consistent!
- Date format (ISO 8601 Standard): YYYYMMDDThhmmss
- Project or experiment name
- Researcher name/initials
- Date or date range of collection version
An example for README file.
An example of code documentation.
Tools for Documentation
Tools for Documentation:
- R Markdown
- Doxygen - Doxygen can be used for C, C#, PHP, Java, Python, and Fortran.
Software Documentation Hosting Options:
- Read The Docs
- 18 Software Documentation Tools
- BIDS Docathon Kickoff - A Video
- Docathon at BIDS
- Documenting Your Code
- First Steps with Sphinx
- Google Style Guides
- How to maintain an open source project
- A Quick Guide to Software Licensing for the Scientist-Programmer
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Project documentation: types of project documentation examples & templates.
June 15, 2023
High-quality project documentation has long-term value. It not only helps to ensure the success of the project, but it also serves as a reference for future projects and initiatives!
At its core, project documentation is the pulse of any project. It connects everything needed to run the project successfully.
Documentation must be extensive enough so development can progress. But flexible enough so modifications or adjustments can be made in response to different situations.
Let’s take a closer look at the primary types of documentation, along with others typically buried within inboxes that should be organized into project management software . ⚒️
If you need a fast-track solution to start documenting your projects the right way, get your team into ClickUp’s Project Documentation Template ! Collaborate in real-time or async and even assign comments within the Doc to keep communication in one place.
Let’s get started!
What is Project Documentation?
Project proposal, project charter, project plan (or scope of work), project status report, project change management plan, project post-mortem (or retrospective), 1. use document collaboration tools, 2. start early and document often, 3. update existing templates whenever necessary , 4. add visuals whenever possible, 5. archive completed projects, long-term benefits of project documentation.
Project documentation is any type of written material that describes the details of the steps taken throughout a project’s life cycle. This includes the project scope, planning, development, change control, assessments, and quality assurance reports. Sharing information makes sure everyone has the right context to get their work done efficiently.
Good documentation helps with collaboration, communication, training, and problem-solving throughout the lifecycle of a project.
More importantly, project documentation plays an important role in the success of any project by providing details for informed decision-making.
Examples of Project Documentation with Templates
Documentation connects people with the right content at the right time.
Having the proper project documents is key to successfully managing a project from start to finish. A variety of documents, such as diagrams, timelines, policies, reports, meeting minutes, and project plans come together to provide a comprehensive overview. 🌐
Plus, maintaining accurate documents is required for reviews and audits, helping us track what’s been accomplished and keeping everyone accountable for their part!
Here are the most common types of project documentation:
Owner: Primary stakeholder, sponsor Contributors: As needed
A project proposal document outlines the objectives and scope of a proposed project . It’s typically written by the project’s stakeholders in order to secure approval and necessary funding for the project.
The document typically includes an executive summary, background information, objectives or goals, proposed methods, projected timeline, budget, and risks. After approval, the project manager uses the document to write the project charter.
Owner: Project manager Contributors: As needed
A project charter is a document illustrating a project’s objectives and scope based on the project proposal. It’s the first document that serves as a foundation for the project team’s work.
While drafting the project charter , it’s the perfect time to make sure you have a solid understanding of the project. Take careful consideration of the project schedule, goals, objectives, and scope. It requires close attention to details and the needs of stakeholders.
If the project has circumstances such as working with cross-functional teams or company-wide impact, you’ll likely have a short list of stakeholders from different areas:
- Product Marketing
- Account Executives
Documenting the necessary stakeholders ahead of time will help prevent scope creep later in the project!
Discover project charter templates & team charters !
Owner: Project manager Contributors: Department leads
A scope of work document is a detailed description of the work that needs to be done on a project. It outlines the objectives, tasks, deliverables, timeline, cost estimate, dependencies, and any other relevant information to guide your project team to success.
Additionally, the project plan should discuss any potential risks or challenges that could happen during the course of the project, and propose solutions for handling them.
Learn how to write a scope of work document !
Owner: Project manager Contributors: All team members as needed
A project status report covers the current state of the project written for key stakeholders and project leaders. Status reports are typically sent on a weekly basis by the project manager, who condenses large amounts of data and task progress.
It generally shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to read and includes these key information:
- The project’s overall key milestones are summarized in a few words: Scoping , On Track , Blocked , Delayed , At Risk , Cancelled , or Complete
- Major project tasks, activities, decisions, or updates since the last status report
- Key issues and risks (For example, tight timelines with task dependencies)
- Blockers (For example, bugs or pending stakeholder approvals)
- Any small/big wins, problems solved
Owner: Project manager Contributors: Stakeholders
A change management plan outlines the processes, procedures, and resources required to apply changes to a project’s deliverables, team members, or strategy. It helps maintain control of the scope and ensures all stakeholders are fully aware of changes being implemented.
The plan typically includes:
- An overview of the change
- An assessment of the impact of the change
- A communication plan for stakeholders
- A timeline for each stage of the process
- New tools and resources required to implement the change
- New roles and responsibilities related to the change
- A list of potential risks associated with the change
Learn more about how project change management plans in ClickUp help teams stay on track!
Owner: Project manager Contributors: As needed
A project post-mortem is a reflection document capturing key outcomes and lessons learned from a project. Post mortems should include an assessment of the project’s overall effectiveness, along with an analysis of any challenges and the tools used for project completion.
The project manager creates the retrospective document, and all project team members contribute their feedback and questions. This can help the team become more aware of blind spots, identify areas of improvement, call out specific project successes, and develop better methods of problem-solving!
Check out the best Sprint Retrospective templates for teams , or get started with ClickUp’s Retrospective Brainstorm Template !
How to Manage the Project Documentation Process
Keeping track of documentation takes a considerable amount of effort if you’re updating multiple channels of communication. And sometimes you’re sending the same information to different channels.
Here are the best practices to create project documentation:
If a new marketing team member needs to get up to speed on a specific project, it wouldn’t make sense to digitally toss them into a group Slack channel to put pieces of information together.
Organize information with the audience in mind.
ClickUp Docs are the most efficient tools to connect tasks to documentation within a few clicks. And it’s easy to set up! Divide the documentation by the types we learned earlier—proposal, charter, plan, and so on—into separate subpages. 📄
From there, you can take your team’s Doc experience even further with page customization and collaboration tools. If you have other project documentation like Google Sheets and PDFs, embed these resources into the Doc for quick access!
Working together on documentation allows for different perspectives to be included, which can increase engagement and alignment.
Check out the top document collaboration software !
Documenting a project early and often is important because it guides the work with the right context.
Project members can avoid wasting time trying to figure out why certain decisions were made or how something was supposed to work.
And if you’ve ever waited until the last minute to document your time, tasks, and statuses, you know firsthand the mental energy it takes to get it done! (We’ve all been there.) 🙋
Bonus: Team charter templates !
Project templates are useful tools for teams to quickly and efficiently start up new projects. They provide a standard process to follow and a reusable framework for the project, taking out the time and effort of setting up the project from scratch.
However, as time goes on, industry standards, customer needs, and internal procedures are constantly changing. This means that project templates need to be updated regularly to ensure they remain efficient and relevant. The result? Teams can maintain their workflow and quickly launch into a project with minimal setup time!
Adding visuals to project documentation helps stakeholders and team members understand the content by making it more engaging, easier to comprehend, and more memorable. Visuals have the power to convey a point quickly, allowing for more efficient communication of complex topics.
They also help to break up large blocks of text, making the content more readable. Visuals can be used to explain relationships between different pieces of data and elements, creating a deeper understanding of the context. 📊
Archiving projects is important for a few key reasons:
- It allows us to refer back to past solutions that may be applicable to current or future projects
- It serves as a record of our growth and project success, helping us to recognize our strengths and identify areas for improvement
- It creates a shared understanding of the goals and objectives behind our processes, helping everyone on a team work more productively
- It provides an efficient way to compare old and new versions of the same project and see how the design has developed over time
- It offers actionable insight into the development process of a project
Project documentation is an essential part of any project, providing not only a record of the project’s progress but also important information for future decision-making and planning.
An indispensable archive of all the decisions, changes, and discussions associated with a given project allows teams to have past reference points to draw upon, making it easier to track progress, address technical issues and avoid costly mistakes in the future. 🔮
Here’s what your team can look forward to with high-quality documentation:
- Increased process efficiency : Project documentation provides a reference for future projects, enabling future teams to understand the purpose and context of the project and avoid having to reinvent the wheel
- Enhanced knowledge retention : Through documentation, team members are able to share their expertise with each other and pass on their knowledge to future teams, helping to ensure that important skills and knowledge aren’t lost over time
- Improved collaboration : Project documentation helps facilitate better communication between teams as all relevant parties have access to the same information, allowing for more informed conversations between team members
- Increased accountability : Documentation helps create a chain of responsibility and accountability, which helps prevent confusion and that accountability remains clear when members come and go
- Improved team morale : Documentation improves overall team morale, as it helps with communication, collaboration, and accountability, which makes it easier for team members to work together
- Improved workflow : Well-structured, up-to-date project documentation can help streamline workflow by providing an easily accessible source of information for project teams
- Better staff onboarding : Project documentation allows for faster onboarding of new staff as they can quickly become acquainted with the project and its progress by studying the documentation
- Reduced errors : Documentation provides a single reference source that can be used to ensure all teams are working from the same information. This reduces the chances of errors caused by misunderstandings or discrepancies between versions of a project
- Increased visibility : Documentation such as a business agreement or contract provides access to information that is up-to-date and accurate, thus increasing the visibility of the project and its progress for stakeholders
Bonus: Writing Tools & AI Text Generators
Project Documentation Made Easy in ClickUp
Project documentation is essential for teams to stay organized, on-task, and successful. With ClickUp, teams can streamline their project management and workflow processes, giving them the power to stay organized and be more productive. ⚡️
No more wasted time trying to track down scattered files and documents caused by multiple sources. Everything is accessible on one platform. Get started with ClickUp for free !
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Project Documentation: Examples and Templates
Learn how to keep your project documentation organized and up-to-date with simple best practices.
Project documentation is a vital part of project management. It's also every project manager's least favorite task.
"We have no time for this right now."
"We're doing Agile."
"No one reads that stuff."
It may seem tedious, but comprehensive documentation is what can make the difference between the success and failure of your project. Let's dive deeper into what project documentation actually is and why it's worth your time.
What is project documentation?
Examples of project documents, the value of project documentation, choosing the right documentation software, how to document a project, project documentation template.
Project documentation is the process of recording the key project details and producing the documents that are required to implement it successfully. Simply put, it's an umbrella term which includes all the documents created over the course of the project.
Project documents come in many forms – from project proposals and business cases, to project plans and project status reports.
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Bring all your knowledge, docs, and projects together in one place.
It's difficult to strictly define what should be documented over the course of a project, as it's strongly dependent on the kind of project you are managing. A major project at a big enterprise usually requires a lot more paperwork than a small-scale initiative at an early-stage startup.
But some basic documents are needed in most cases. Here are five project document examples that your project will likely require.
A project proposal is written to initiate a project – it's the first step in the project management process . The goal of this document is to convince the decision-makers and stakeholders that the idea behind the project is worth pursuing. A project proposal needs to outline the project's core value proposition, which is often done in the form of a business case.
A project charter is another key project documentation example. This document lays the foundation for the project by covering the high-level project planning . It needs to outline how the business goals of the project will be achieved by explaining the key requirements, budget, tasks, roles, and responsiblities of the project. It’s the first document you write after your project proposal is formally approved.
After the high-level planning is complete, the project manager creates a more detailed project plan . It serves as a roadmap for the project, defining the key project milestones and placing them on a timeline. This document evolves together with the project, capturing all changes and decisions and facilitating communication among project stakeholders.
Project status report
Depending on the scope of your project and the size of our team, keeping everyone up-to-date may become difficult. Project status reports are written to keep all project stakeholders – both internal and external – on the same page. These documents usually contain an overview of the progress you've made so far and the next steps you are planning to take.
Every project is a learning opportunity. What went well? What could be improved next time? After you conclude the project, sit together with your team and do a project retrospective. Document your lessons learned in a separate document and use it as a reference for your next project.
Other project document examples
This was by no means an exhaustive list. Some large-scale projects require hundreds of separate documents and forms, while smaller projects tend to simplify and combine them.
Depending on the type of project you are planning to undertake, you may want to additionally create some of the following project documents:
Project scope statement
Business requirements document
Risk management plan
Cost management plan
The first and perhaps the most important reason why you should document your project is simple – writing things down forces you to think through your idea and to verify if it actually makes sense. It also makes your project much easier to manage by helping your team to:
Clarify the project expectations and objectives
Break down the work into manageable blocks
Plan and assign resources
Ensure that all stakeholders are informed about the progress
But it can also create long-term benefits for your organization even after the project is concluded:
Faster new employee onboarding . Good project documentation gives new team members access to all the knowledge that has been collected over the course of your projects, both past and ongoing. New team members are able to immediately understand decisions made in the past and to find relevant information without having to ask others on the team over the course of many weeks.
Better cross-team alignment . Thorough documentation brings clarity and transparency to what everyone is working on. As a result, decisions and discussions don't get scattered over chat and email, less time is spent in meetings, and work is less likely to get duplicated.
More effective knowledge management . The insights and lessons learned from one project can be transferred to new projects. Capturing and sharing this knowledge can help you develop new best practices, prevent repeated mistakes, and continuously improve your team's overall performance.
But in order to deliver on these goals, your internal documentation needs to be well-written, accurate, and up-to-date. In this guide, we will cover the tools and best practices you can use to improve the quality of your project documentation.
There are many different tools you can use to document a project – Google Docs, Confluence (and a variety of Confluence alternatives ), different types of internal wikis and knowledge bases , and more.
Depending on the size of your team and your approach to project management, your requirements may differ. Some teams need complex solutions with advanced features, such as built-in approval workflows and automated tasks, while others prefer simpler and easier tools with no learning curve. Whatever tool you choose, make sure all project stakeholders know how to use it.
In any case, an ideal project documentation tool should:
Be easily editable even by non-technical users, ideally, in real time .
Provide an instant and reliable search function.
Have intuitive navigation .
Make it easy to organize content .
Integrate with other tools to keep all your project assets in sync.
One such tool is Nuclino . It works like a collective brain, allowing you to bring all your team's knowledge, docs, and projects together in one place – create an account and give it a try:
Part of what makes project documentation seem so frustrating – and even useless – is that the finished documents are often not read by anyone. Documentation is created only because it's what you're expected to do, and then immediately forgotten and discarded.
There are a few ways to ensure that the time you invest in documenting your project is not wasted:
Organize all project documentation in one place
Project-related communication tends to scatter across meetings, chat, email, and shared drives, leaving your team without a single source of truth. Instead, bring all project-related documents together in one place and don't waste time hunting through outdated Confluence pages or stale emails.
Make it easy to access and search
The easier you make it for people to find the information they need, the more likely they will be to read the documentation. Make sure your documentation tool is equipped with a reliable and fast search feature.
Keep it lightweight
While it's important to keep your project documentaion thorough, it also needs to be concise. No one will bother reading pages and pages of text – write down what you need and only what you need, with a clear purpose and audience in mind. Follow the rules of Agile documentation .
Collaboratively maintain it
Don't rush to laminate your project documents. As your project evolves and progresses, many key details may change, and your documentation needs to keep up. Create living documentation and give stakeholders access to share feedback, ask questions, and update it as needed.
Every project is different and there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to project documentation. But this simple one-page project documentation template can be a good starting point.
As your project evolves and your documentation becomes more detailed, you may want to split it into separate documents to keep things more organized.
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The Ultimate Guide about How to Manage Project Documentation
13 min read
September 27, 2023
What Is Project Documentation?
Why is project documentation important for managing your marketing project, create more visibility, ensure that the project requirements are fulfilled, evaluate the project once it has finished, what are the benefits of project documentation, sets and defines your project goals, supports the project planning stage, gives a clear overview of the project, manages risks and issues, makes the project traceable, key project documents with project documentation examples, 1. project initiation, project business case.
2. Project Planning
Work breakdown structure.
Risk and Issue Log
Change Request Management Document
3. Project Execution
Project communication plan.
4. Monitoring & Controlling the Project
5. project closure, project closure sheet.
Lessons Learned Register
Project Documentation Templates
Project business case document template.
Project Charter Document Template
Work Breakdown Document Template
Requirement Specification Template
Risk and Issue Log Template
Template for Request Management Document
Communication Plan Template
Project Timeline Template
Project Closure Sheet Template
Lessons learned register template.
How to Manage the Project Documentation Process
1. Create the documents in advance
2. make documentation maintenance an ongoing process, 3. share, review and approve the documents, 4. save and archive the documents, five tools to use for your project documentation.
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Project documentation: an essential guide
Project documentation is a key project management resource that helps set your project up for success. Project documentation can provide clarity and guarantees that everyone involved in a project is on the same page to ensure a project is completed on time and on budget.
In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of project documentation, how you can use it for your project, and tips for choosing the best project documentation software.
What is project documentation?
Project documentation is a collection of data and documents that captures information about a project. Usually, a project manager collects all relevant documents for each stage of a project, including files related to proposals, goals, requirements, design, implementation, budgeting, testing, deployment, and support.
The purpose of project documentation is to gather all documents in one place to make referencing and communication easier.
Project documentation allows project leaders to stay organized, better track progress, and ensure compliance.
The benefits of project documentation
It’s not surprising that having all your project’s documents collected helps you work more efficiently; you don’t have to waste time searching for documents or disrupting your team’s workflow when you need to refer back to budgets or when stakeholders ask to see a project proposal or design. Here are some advantages of project documentation:
Documenting your project ensures that it remains transparent and that all stakeholders are on the same page, making it easier to update on different milestones, timelines, and deliverables.
By keeping all documents accounted for so that members from different teams all have access to the same information, collaboration becomes easier. Project documentation ensures that everyone is working together towards a common goal.
When you document different steps of a project, you’re better able to guarantee that different stakeholders are held accountable for the tasks they’re responsible for.
Project documentation adds value by offering clarity on the progress of work that is done and that remains, as well as setting work requirements, goals, and objectives.
Types of documents included in project documentation
Each project will likely have different documents depending on the scope, type of project, and members involved. That said, any type of project can benefit from using project documentation for the simple reason that it provides organization and clarity. Let’s take a look at a few different types of documents you might include.
- Project charter : A document that outlines a project’s scope, objectives, components, and stakeholders, acting as the general anchor that guides you through milestones
- Statement of work (SOW): A formal agreement between two parties that outlines the scope and objectives of a project, often used when collaborating with external parties
- Project status reports: These reports help project managers track recent updates on tasks to see how a project is progressing
- Risk management plan: An outline of potential risks and roadblocks in a project with plans for how to mitigate or react to them
- Financial plan: A breakdown of a budget and how its meant to be allocated to different tasks and milestones
- Issue tracker: A way for project managers to keep track of issues that arises at any point of the project in order to help prevent larger issues down the road
- Technical document: A document containing the details for using, designing, or developing a technical system along with information on functions and safety
- Rollout plan: A plan that documents how a system will be implemented in an organization including steps, training, and different phases
How to create project documentation
Knowing how to create and structure your project documentation is as important as the documents themselves. It’s important to take the time to structure these documents well from the get-go, so your team has an easy time browsing, accessing, and sharing the documents they need. Here’s how to do it in 5 steps.
Step 1: Gather all the necessary files
Documents are likely scattered across different platforms, such as emails, hard drives, Word docs, PDFs, internal messages, and more. The first step in preparing the project documentation process is to gather all these tools in one centralized space, such as on a project management solution like monday.com .
Step 2: Ensure documents are descriptive
Each stage of a project will require different documentation. Ensure that you have all the documentation you need for each stage of a project from beginning to end. Of course, it’s normal that more documents will get included as a project progresses, but having the right ones on hand from the beginning will help keep tasks on track.
Step 3: Structure documents for easier search
Existing documents might be full of unnecessary information or comments, which can be distracting when searching for specific data. To save your team time, consider adding features like internal links, a table of contents, or sub-categories to each document.
Step 4: Make it a collaborative effort
It can be difficult to separate pertinent information from noise, so involve your team in the early stages of the project documentation process to help contribute or review and improve important documents. This ensures anything that’s missing, unclear, or out-of-date gets updated.
Step 5: Publish and maintain the documents
When the documents are finalized, make sure to add features such as tags and indexing in the documentation platform so that they’re ready to be searched. Finally, project documentation is an ongoing effort that requires regular maintenance as a project develops. Make sure you regularly review your project documents to ensure they’re relevant and up-to-date.
Best practices in writing project documentation
Often, files aren’t created with documentation in mind, but it’s important to adapt them accordingly when organizing all your documents to make it easier to retrieve data. Follow these tips for the seamless organization of your project documentation.
Set up a team of contributors
Project documentation should be a collaborative process, so create a team of contributors, editors, and reviewers from different teams to ensure documents are accurate and consistent.
Stick to a structure
Use clear headers, tags, labels, prioritization, topics, and sub-topics to make sure documents are well-structured and anyone can easily search for them.
Templates can help you structure project documentation, making it easy to search and reference data. Look for a work tool like monday.com that has built-in documentation templates for a smooth start.
Keep track of version histories but also make sure to update documentation regularly throughout a project’s lifespan to ensure information is always current. With monday.com, you can create automated reminders to periodically update documents so that you don’t forget.
Don’t get bogged down by details
Not every document needs to be highly detailed. For some documents, being concise will make them more accessible. Ensure a document has enough information for tasks that are relevant to it.
Choosing the right software for project documentation
According to a study conducted by Hive, 77% of high-performing projects
used software, so turning to an external tool for help documenting your project can help set you up for success. When selecting software, it can be challenging to know which tool has the functionality you need to collaborate effectively. You want to look for something that will fit your project’s scope and your team’s needs. When choosing software, consider the following:
- The software should be simple to use without a major learning curve or specialized training
- Project managers should be able to set access controls
- Look for a tool with built-in project documentation templates to get off the ground quicker
- The software should integrate with your existing tools, such as Slack, Jira, Outlook, or Google Drive
- Make sure both the software and templates are customizable to your needs
A great option for project documentation and other project management workflows is monday.com. With monday.com, you get software that’s entirely customizable to your project’s needs along with project documentation templates to help you get started.
Here are some of the great features monday.com offers for project documentation purposes:
- Assign a status, owner, department, deadlines, and reviewer to each item
- Integrate all your most-used tools such as Slack, Zoom, Excel, Jira, Asana, and more
- Communicate internally on different documents to always stay up-to-date on tasks
- Collaborate on tasks in real-time with all relevant stakeholders
- Oversee the status of your project with Gantt and Kanban views
- Create automations for approvals and tasks to cut down on manually reviewing items
monday.com offers a solution that’s scalable to your needs, so you can increase or decrease the scope of your documentation efforts based on your project while feeling confident that you’re paying for exactly what you’re using.
How do you write a project document?
A project document outlines objectives, goals, scope, timeline, and resources necessary to complete a project. It should be written clearly and concisely so that it’s easily understood by all stakeholders involved.
What are examples of project documentation?
Some different types of project documentation might include a project charter, statement of work, financial plan, risk management plan, issues tracker, and project status report.
How important is documentation in a project?
Documentation allows projects to run more smoothly as it helps stakeholders understand the project scope, timeline, and objectives. Project documentation also helps improve communication, collaboration, and clarity throughout a project’s lifecycle.
monday.com: the intuitive solution for structured project documentation
The key to success with project documentation is to remain consistently organized. When your documentation is clean and controlled, the project itself will be off to a good start, and team members will have an easier time completing their tasks with more direct access to the information they need. A powerful tool like monday.com helps you keep your documents organized in your own way while also providing complete collaboration and transparency to facilitate a smooth workflow.
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Home › What is Documentation? › What is Software Documentation? › How to Write Software Documentation in 7 Simple Steps
How to Write Software Documentation in 7 Simple Steps
TABLE OF CONTENTS
If you want to launch a software product from scratch and guide users to adopt it, then you’ll face challenging and unpredictable variables. The concept of software documentation emerged to keep everyone on the same page and make an otherwise overwhelming journey easier to navigate.
Software development teams, testers, and users alike (and everyone else related to the project) need some guidance to help them with their goals. With adequate documentation, everyone wins.
But that itself is a complicated process, requiring technical writing expertise . Even if you’re not a technical writer, you can learn how to prepare excellent technical documentation for your product. If you’re interested in learning via video, then watch below. Otherwise, skip ahead.
To that end, in this article, we’ll discuss:
- What software documentation is
- How to write software documentation in 7 easy steps
Let’s get started.
Software documentation refers to the documents, tutorials, and other material describing a software product’s development, functionality, and use. It is one of the many forms of technical documentation.
The purpose of software documentation is simple: to streamline the communication between all the parties involved with the product.
Within an org where the software is being developed, a technical document can be considered a wiki page – a guiding blueprint that the development team can refer to when working on it. Additionally, it can also help those who use the finished version of the product.
To be more specific, adequate software documentation can help:
- Align Expectations with Understanding—one of the main concerns of any software company is to ensure that the software engineers work towards bringing the stakeholders’ vision to life. An error in documentation can cause discrepancies between what’s required and developed.
- Aid in Helping the End-User—in addition to guiding the programmers in implementing requirements, software documentation also helps the audience set up the software, understand the user interface, and follow the best use-cases.
- Record Progress—another internal use of software documentation is to keep track of the software development lifecycle (SDLC). This can help a company measure progress, learn from mistakes, and make better decisions in the future.
Every tech company—from small startups to well-established giants like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google—uses some form of software documentation.
Programmers, stakeholders, and users alike benefit from this form of technical communication.
The Different Types of Software Documentation
Before learning how to write software documentation, it’s essential to understand the different types of technical documents you might be required to work on.
They are mainly distinguished based on the specific goals they accomplish.
Depending on the methodology/approach it uses, a company may not use every type of document (those that follow an agile approach don’t usually engage in heavy documentation in the beginning).
With that out of the way, software documentation can be split into two broad categories:
When talking about software documentation, people mainly refer to product documentation.
As the name suggests, this category includes all the documents/material that contain essential details about the product. Of course, it can be for both the software developers and the end-users.
We can further classify product documentation into the following types:
- Requirements Documents – these are created at the very beginning of the project. As the name suggests, they’re intended to clearly communicate what is expected from the software (the functionality, features, goals, etc.) to the software engineering teams. They are also known as “ReadMe” documents.
- Architecture/Design Documents provide an overview of the software’s architecture and highlight the design principles to be used.
- Source Code – this includes documents containing the software product’s actual code (Python, HTML, etc).
- End-User includes all the user documentation, such as user guides, user manuals, reference manuals, etc. The purpose is to ensure a smooth user experience. If the solution is an API, the material is referred to as API documentation .
In addition to the above, a document detailing the marketing strategy/research can also be filed under product documentation.
This category includes all the documents describing the underlying processes that bring a product from ideation to launch.
Process documentation aims to break down the software development journey (and provide a vision for all the teams involved in the project).
Process documentation can include:
- Plans – not to be confused with the requirements , these are also typically created before the development starts. They include cost estimates, schedules, etc.
- Progress Reports help measure the success of the software’s development (using certain metrics) and ensure that the development team is on the right path.
- Working Papers – these special documents record the ideas, thoughts, and notes that the engineers, developers, and systems administrators have during development.
- Finally, development teams need to specify the coding and design standards that they stick with to keep things consistent.
While product documentation is intended for both internal and external audiences, process documentation is mainly intended for the people developing the product.
How to Write Software Documentation [in 7 Steps]
Writing software documentation is tricky. While workflows vary from company to company, there are certain best practices that, if adhered to, can make the process a lot smoother (and yield the ideal results).
In 7 simple steps, you can create any type of software documentation, irrespective of its goal(s). We won’t be talking about the use of templates or any documentation tool such as GitHub, Confluence, etc. The steps we’re about to discuss are generic – ones that may only require a basic text editor.
Let’s dive in:
1. Understand the Purpose and Audience of the Document
Before anything else, you need to take a step back and ask yourself why you’re about to create the said document.
Since there are so many software documentation types, even the most experienced technical writers are prone to mixing up the main purpose or the audience they’re addressing.
For that reason, you first need to highlight the purpose of your document. A simple tip is to open up a blank doc and type up its purpose as the title.
For instance, if you’re creating a document that conveys the expectations of the stakeholders to the software developers, the title could be something along the lines of: “ The Vision for XYZ Software .”
Furthermore, highlight the audience of the document. Go one step further and create personas of the type of people who would read your technical content.
These may sound like trivial things to do, but they help.
2. Jot Down Important Questions
Creating a technical document that doesn’t address the pain points or answer the audience’s questions is pointless.
Once you’ve identified the goal and the audience for your technical document, the next step is to anticipate (or better yet, ask about) the questions the readers might have about the product.
This is where your personas will come in handy.
List down those FAQs somewhere. But don’t include them in your main document just yet.
The goal of identifying the questions is to collect your thoughts, design your document accordingly, and provide the most relevant information that delivers maximum value.
3. Outline Technical Documentation
Figuring out the outlining process is an essential aspect of writing software documentation.
That is why the next step is to develop an appropriate design for your document.
If you’re writing a particular type of document for the first time, you may need to prepare a structure from scratch.
There is no universal template for every type of software documentation as with everything else. The design and outline of your document will be based on the specific goals you want to accomplish and the comprehension level of your audience.
Here’s what it should include, in order:
- The title and the audience
- An executive summary of the document
- The problem statement and the scope
- The goal(s) of the document
- Requirements for the reader (if applicable)
- Instructions/Steps/Solutions/Findings/Code (whatever is applicable)
- A timeline (if applicable)
- References (if applicable)
You know your audience better than anyone. Include anything else in your outline that might help.
Structure the information in the most helpful way. You may need the assistance of a graphic designer.
You can then use the outline/design as a template for all future documents to maintain the consistency of communication and make minor improvements along the way.
If you’re looking for a more detailed process of writing technical writing documentation, check out our Technical Writing Certification Course.
4. Gather the Required Information
Depending on your level of familiarity with the subject, you may need to conduct some heavy researching to gather and validate all the relevant information for your document.
This may entail interviewing experts or users, talking to the stakeholders, going through existing documents, and conducting research over the internet.
Process the research data into usable information, compile it over your outline, and provide references wherever necessary to add credibility to your writing (if it applies).
5. Write Documentation Drafts
Now that you’ve laid a strong foundation for your technical document, all that’s left to do is to draft it.
If you’ve created a solid outline and gathered all the required information beforehand, the actual drafting process shouldn’t take very long.
Here are some quick writing tips:
- Don’t write more than you need to
- Wherever possible, avoid using jargon
- Use plain English to convey your thoughts
- Avoid being unambiguous
- Don’t edit while writing
While drafting, keep referring to the goal and the audience to stay on track.
6. Leverage Good Documentation Visuals
After you prepare your draft, you should include a few visuals (flowcharts, illustrations, screenshots, etc.) to augment your document.
If they’re available, you may also choose to add the graphics as you write the draft. Some writers even prefer adding them during the outlining phase. You’re free to do whatever feels correct based on your particular circumstances.
Technical writers can use these visuals to emphasize a point, further explain a technical concept, help the reader, and make your document look much better.
7. Perform Final Editing
We’re still not done yet.
The only thing left to do now is to edit your technical document.
Depending on your researching, formatting, and writing skills, it can take anywhere from a single to multiple rounds of edits to get the final document.
This entails having an editor (if available), a subject matter expert or just another pair of fresh eyes look at your document for any grammatical, technical, or contextual errors.
Final Note on Technical Documentation
The secret of good software documentation—whatever it may be—is comprehensive planning. Like any other form of technical writing, software documentation cannot be rushed.
Furthermore, it’s not always a one-person effort. It requires close collaboration with the relevant stakeholders, software developers, and other parties directly or indirectly involved with the project.
By following the best practices, touching all the pain points, and most importantly, staying within the scope, you can easily prepare excellent software documentation in no time.
If you are new to technical writing and are looking to break-in, we recommend taking our Technical Writing Certification Course , where you will learn the fundamentals of being a technical writer, how to dominate technical writer interviews, and how to stand out as a technical writing candidate.
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Project Documentation: 15 Essential Project Documents
Table of Contents
What is project documentation.
- Project Documentation By Project Phase
- Top 15 Project Documents
- What's Worth Documenting?
Project Documentation Best Practices
How projectmanager helps with project documentation.
Project managers know the importance of project documentation. Project documents must be accurate and constantly updated to keep current with the project. Creating and managing project documentation throughout the project life cycle is critical for project success, but where to start?
This guide defines what project documentation is and why it’s important in addition to outlining the top 15 project documents that you should always create to plan and execute your projects.
The term project documentation refers to the project management documents that are created throughout the project life cycle. These documents, such as the project plan, project schedule or project budget, define activities, procedures and guidelines that the project team should follow.
Project documentation has several purposes such as project planning, cost management or risk management. In addition, there are certain project documents that must be created at a specific project phase as they set the stage for the next step. For example, the project management plan must be created before the project execution phase can begin.
Project management software can help you organize and share information that is crucial to the success of your project. ProjectManager is work management software that has unlimited file storage and makes it easy to share product documentation with your team and stakeholders. All of its multiple project views share one source of information to keep everyone on the same page. Get started for free.
Let’s take a look at which project documents should be created at each project management phase.
Project Documentation by Project Phase
Projects vary in size and complexity and some require more comprehensive project documentation than others. Here’s an overview of some of the project documents that are usually created throughout the project life cycle .
- Project Initiation: Project charter, project summary, business case, project kickoff meeting agenda
- Project Planning: Project management plan, work breakdown structure , project budget, project schedule, change management plan, scope management plan, risk management plan
- Project Execution: Project status report, lessons learned template, timesheets , change requests, change orders
- Project Monitoring and Control: Project status report, lessons learned template, timesheets
- Project Closure: Project closure template, punch list
Now that you have an idea of the right project documentation for each phase of your project life cycle, let’s dive into some critical project management documents.
Top 15 Project Documents to Include in Your Project Documentation
Here’s a brief description of the important project documents and a corresponding project management template for each of them. Don’t forget to check our library of free project management templates where you’ll find dozens of templates to build your project documentation.
1. Project Plan
The project plan is the most comprehensive of all project management documents because it compiles the project documents that are created during the project planning phase. For example, your project plan should include your project budget and your project schedule.
2. Project Charter
The project charter is written during the project initiation phase and it sets the stage for the project plan. Project managers use project charters to provide a quick overview of the project to stakeholders, sponsors and clients.
3. Business Case
Just like the project charter, a business case is a document that’s created during the initiation phase to convince project stakeholders of the project’s value by explaining the potential benefits it could have for their organization.
4. Project Schedule
At a basic level, the project schedule defines the timeline for the execution of all project tasks. It can also include more details such as the resources needed for each task, who’s responsible for it, the float or slack your project has and the critical path. ProjectManager’s Gantt chart is the perfect tool for creating a detailed project schedule.
5. Risk Register
This document allows you to register all potential project risks and includes a brief description of their potential impact and likelihood. A risk register is an important project document as it provides important information for your risk management plan that contains all risk management documents, strategies and guidelines.
6. Scope Statement
A scope statement defines the activities that will be executed to complete a project. It’s used by project managers to let stakeholders know what will be done and what won’t be done so that expectations are clear from the beginning. It’s part of the scope management plan , a comprehensive document that explains the procedures and guidelines related to the project scope.
7. Project Budget
The project budget is a critical project management document. To create one, you’ll need to estimate your project costs, which include labor, materials, equipment and anything that’s needed to execute the project.
8. Project Communication Plan
A communication plan sets all the guidelines for communication among team members and project stakeholders. It defines the communication channels to be used, the communication schedule and roles and responsibilities among other details to streamline the communication process throughout the project life cycle.
9. Project Status Report
Project status reports are a must-have project management tool because they allow you to check the health of your project at any point in time and share data with stakeholders to keep them updated. Status reports are brief and include the most relevant information only.
10. Project Closure Template
It’s always necessary to create project documentation at the end of the project closure phase . That’s because project managers need to close contracts, create a “lessons learned” document and get formal approval from stakeholders among other important tasks. All of this must be documented so that nothing falls through the cracks.
11. Project Proposal Template
A project proposal is a project management document that provides a quick overview of the key areas of a project. Its main purpose is to convince potential stakeholders of the value of the project during the initiation phase. It should be a persuasive document that highlights the main benefits, goals and requirements.
12. Project Brief Template
A project brief is a summarized version of your project plan, geared towards an audience such as cross-functional teams or stakeholders who don’t need to dive into all the details of a project management plan but still need to have an understanding of the project goals, budget, roles & responsibilities among other key aspects.
13. Requirements Gathering Template
Project requirements are the goals and specifications that are expected from a project to make sure all stakeholders are satisfied. Our free requirements gathering template will help you document all your project requirements.
14. Project Overview Template
A project overview is a 1-page document that outlines the most critical aspects of a project such as its timeline , milestones, budget, status and the team members’ roles & responsibilities.
15. Team Charter Template
A team charter is a project management document that shows the roles, responsibilities, deliverables and resources of a project team. It helps project managers understand the workload and objectives of each team member for better resource planning.
What’s Worth Documenting
No matter your organization’s structure, the ability to record and document all aspects of a project is vital to being a successful project manager. Multiple reports, charts , graphs, documents, change requests and status updates need to be maintained throughout the project life cycle, and documentation works to stitch the disparate pieces of a project together and bring it to a successful finish.
However, your time is limited, and so is patience in most organizations for tedious paperwork. How can you maintain efficiency and effectively document the project? Consider the following to determine what’s worth documenting:
- Client-Related Everything – Imagine that a client suddenly questions a decision that was made months ago. The client says that they chose one direction but your company decided to go down another path during implementation. Clear documentation on client meetings, including notes with dates, times and attendees helps resolve misunderstandings.
- Legal Dictates – For certain projects, legal teams are required to review documentation during the project . For public projects, there might be oversight and review processes that analyze a project after its completion. Know the documentation requirements your legal team needs before your project begins. Playing catch-up is risky in this kind of environment.
- The Right Amount of Process – While you don’t want to get lost in documenting so much of the plan and process that you’re not actually processing, you do want some definition around the project plan and goals. Let your organizational structure guide how many processes to document. For example, trying to operate process-free on a project that requires legal documentation will only get your project in trouble. When in doubt, the best approach is to document.
- Changes to the Project – Ongoing project reports are essential to document especially as project goals shift. Ideally, you’ll have a real-time online project management tool so your resources and task changes are scheduled live and issues are captured as they occur. However, larger impacts to the project plan should be added to project documentation in a version-controlled manner.
So what are the best strategies you should use to keep your documentation effective, efficient and timely? To align your documentation according to best practices you should:
- Take the Time – Use your calendar ! Many people think that calendars are only for scheduling meetings. It’s not. Use it to schedule 2-3 hour blocks of uninterrupted time to assemble an essential document. Instead of taking calls or conversing with a coworker, take the time to get in the zone of writing. With focused time and attention, you’ll be able to make significant progress. Likewise, schedule 10-15 minute blocks in your calendar each week to review and update documentation.
- Have the Right Level of Detail – Putting documentation together for engineers is different from documents you present to executives. Engineers need details you can provide while executives don’t have time to be bogged down with details. They just want bullet points, the bottom line and the next steps. It’s up to you to determine the right level of documentation for the right audience.
- Use Smart Storage – Your documentation needs to be easy to locate. Documentation is useless if it’s buried under a rock where nobody can find it. This includes making sure that the infrastructure is in place to access the documentation online and that the folder structure and hierarchy are easy and intuitive to understand.
- Share with Others – Most people hate putting documentation together but love it when it’s packaged up for them. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that people actually read the documentation! Use your online project management software to store your documents online with the project, ideally in a collaborative, secure environment.
- Version Control and Up-to-Date – Keeping project documentation current and updated is challenging. It’s easy to get to the point of the initial version, but it’s painful to go back and update documentation and maintain version control. The biggest help is the document repository infrastructure you have in place. Automatic version control allows you to manage this process and the consumers of your documentation always trust that they have the latest version.
ProjectManager is work and project software that connects hybrid teams and fosters collaboration. All project documents can be stored on the tool and everyone who needs access to documents will have it. You can create project plans and so much more, making ProjectManager the only software you need for project success.
Make Project Plans on Interactive Gantt Charts
One of the most important project documents is your project plan. You can make and share this with our Gantt chart , which organizes all your tasks, links dependencies and plots milestones to help you stay on schedule. It even filters for the critical path. Our online Gantt charts deliver real-time data and are easy to share so everyone is always working from the most current data.
Monitor Your Project With Real-Time Dashboards
Your project documentation only sets the stage for the execution of your project. To keep to those plans, you need to have a way to monitor progress and performance in real time. Our live dashboard automatically collects, calculates and delivers real-time metrics for time, workload and more. Unlike other tools, there’s no setup necessary. You see what’s happening as the project unfolds.
Go Deeper Into the Data With One-Click Reporting
When a high-level view isn’t enough, you can generate project reports with a keystroke. Get more information on your costs, progress and more. All reports can be filtered to show only the data you want to see. You can attach reports to stakeholder emails or print them out for presentations.
ProjectManager is a flexible tool that allows you to update your project documentation as needed as projects change. Everyone is updated with email notifications or in-app alerts so there’s never any confusion about what’s expected. Use a tool that manages your project plan, resources, cost and team while storing all the project documentation you have to deliver success.
- How to Write a Project Summary (Free Template Included)
- How to Write a Project Description: A Quick Guide
- How to Write an Executive Summary: A Quick Guide
- Ultimate Guide to Gantt Charts
- Ultimate Guide to Project Tracking
- How to Use a Project Decision Log for Optimal Results
Sure, documentation can be the bane of your project, but you need it. There are tools that can help you do it easier, better and faster. The online software suite from ProjectManager is a great collaborative tool to create and store your project documentation for easier access and document sharing with your team. Get started for free .
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