Managing Technical Writing Projects


As a technical writer, it is important to know how to manage your activities, resources, and stakeholders or clients to ensure that the final document:

  • Meets its objectives,
  • Is delivered on time, and
  • Is within the budget.

This will require you to:

  1. Carefully plan and schedule your tasks,
  2. Manage your resources,
  3. Maintain a good communication channel and collaborate with stakeholders, while
  4. Keeping track of deadlines and budget constraints.

In this Module, you will learn how to:

  • Plan and schedule a technical writing project
  • Manage resources
  • Collaborate with other stakeholders
  • Deliver the project on time and within budget

Planning and Scheduling a Technical Writing Project

Planning and scheduling are at the core of any successful technical writing project. This process involves:

  1. Understanding the scope of the project,
  2. Setting clear objectives,
  3. Developing a comprehensive project plan, and
  4. Establishing a realistic timeline.

All of these steps ensure that every aspect of the writing project is thoughtfully put into consideration and carefully organized, facilitating its smooth execution and timely delivery.

1. Understand the Project Scope

Having a clear understanding of a project’s scope involves understanding not just the technical details of the content you are expected to develop, but also the expectations of your audience, the purpose of the document, and the overall objectives of the project.

To help you better understand the scope of your documents, you should ask questions like:

  • What is the end goal of this project?
  • Who will be reading this document?
  • What level of detail and technicality is required?

Answering these questions will set the foundation for all your subsequent planning and scheduling efforts.

2. Set Clear, Achievable Objectives

After defining the scope of your document, the next step is to set clear and achievable objectives.

Your objectives should be SMART:

  • Specific,
  • Measurable,
  • Attainable,
  • Relevant, and
  • Time-bound.

For example, rather than setting an unclear objective like:

1 Write a user manual.

a SMART objective would be:

1 Write a 25-page user manual for the X software, targeting first-time users. To be completed in four weeks.

Clear objectives provide direction and focus for your project.

3. Develop a Comprehensive Project Plan

With your objectives in place, it’s time to develop an exhaustive project plan.

This plan will outline all the tasks that need to be completed, assigning them to the person responsible for each task, and attaching the deadlines for each of them.

You can divide your technical writing project into different time-bound phases, stating the deliverables and tasks within each phase.

A well-thought-out project plan acts as a roadmap that will guide you and your team through the project’s lifecycle. It should be detailed enough to provide clear guidance but flexible enough to accommodate any unforeseen changes.

4. Craft a Realistic Timeline

One very crucial aspect of planning is creating a realistic timeline. This timeline should capture all the project’s phases, from:

  • Planning, to the
  • Initial research and information gathering, to
  • Writing,
  • Reviewing, and
  • Revising the document.

Before allocating time for each task, consider the complexity of the subject-matter and the availability of resources and then allocate sufficient time, giving room for unforeseen events.

Remember, underestimating the time required for tasks is a common pitfall in project planning.

5. Milestones: Markers of Progress

Identifying key milestones plays a crucial role in achieving your project’s objectives.

Milestones serve as significant checkpoints where you can assess your project’s progress and help to ensure that your project is on track while providing opportunities to make any necessary adjustments.

Some examples of milestones include:

  • Completing the first draft,
  • Finishing the review process, or
  • Finalizing illustrations and graphics.
6. Task Delegation and Team Coordination

When working with a team, task delegation becomes a very essential part of the planning process.

Assign tasks based on each team member’s strengths and expertise. Expectations, deliverables, and deadlines should be communicated, documented, and tracked.

If you’re working alone, break-down the project into manageable tasks and allocate time for each task to ensure steady progress.

You can make use of project management tools such as Trello, Asana, or Jira to enable efficient task delegation, tracking, and communication. These tools enhance collaboration among team members, helping in organizing workflow, while providing transparency.

7. Anticipate and Manage Risks

Every project has its risks and possible challenges. These could include anything from technical problems to delays in receiving information or feedback. When planning your project you need to anticipate these risks and have backup plans in place.

This might include allocating extra time to the project’s timeline for unforeseen tasks or having backup resources.

8. Regular Reviews and Adjustments

Finally, include regular reviews in your project’s timeline. These reviews will help you monitor progress, address any challenges, and modify the project timeline if necessary.

Periodic check-ins ensure that your project stays aligned with its objectives and can easily adapt to any changes or challenges that may arise.

Check your knowledge:

Question 1:

Which of the following is NOT a crucial step in understanding the scope of a technical writing project?

Question 2:

A SMART objective for a technical writing project should be:

Managing Resources in Technical Writing Projects

Effective resource management is integral to the success of your technical writing project. It ensures that your project is completed within the stipulated time frame and meets the desired objectives.

Resource management involves identifying, allocating, and utilizing various resources such as time, personnel, information, and technology efficiently.

1. Identify Key Resources:

To manage your project resources, you need to first identify them.

These resources can be:

  • Human resources: writers, editors, subject matter experts, etc.
  • Information resources: technical documentation, research material, etc.
  • Technological resources: writing and editing tools, project management software

You need to know the readily available resources, what additional resources might be needed, and any constraints on these resources.

2. Allocate Resources Effectively:

Once you have identified the resources, the next step is to allocate them effectively.

Steps to help you allocate human resources effectively:

(a). Balancing Workloads:

Assign the right tasks to the right persons. To do this you need to understand each team member’s capacity and assign tasks that match their skills, experience, and areas of specialization.

(b). Balance Complexity and Routine:

Distribute a mix of complex and routine tasks to keep the work engaging. When working in a team, periodically rotate tasks among team members to provide variety and prevent burnout.

(c). Monitor Work Progress:

Regularly check in on the progress of tasks. This allows you to identify any challenges early on and make adjustments to task assignments if needed.

(d). Provide Feedback and Recognition:

Acknowledge and appreciate team members for their efforts. Positive feedback and recognition contribute to a positive work environment and motivate individuals to maintain sustainable work practices.

(e). Prioritize Tasks Effectively:

Communicate task priorities. Ensure that team members understand which tasks are critical and require immediate attention, helping them manage their time effectively.

(f). Provide Clear Instructions:

Communicate expectations and guidelines for each task. Well-defined instructions reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings and ensure that tasks are completed efficiently.

(g). Encourage Open Communication:

Create an environment where team members feel comfortable communicating about their workload and potential challenges. Encourage them to ask for help when needed.

(h). Use Project Management Tools:

Leverage project management tools to assign, track, and manage tasks efficiently. Tools like Trello, Asana, or Jira provide visibility into task progress, making it easier to monitor workloads.

Steps to help you allocate information resources effectively:

(a). Understand Project Requirements:

Have a clear understanding of your project’s scope, objectives, and information needs. Identify the types of information required for the specific technical content you are creating. You can check out this page of this course to learn more about information gathering.

(b). Identify Key Information Sources:

Determine the primary sources of information needed for the project. This may include:

  • Technical documentation,
  • Subject-matter experts,
  • Research materials,
  • Existing documentation, and
  • Any relevant databases.
(c). Organize an Information Repository:

Establish a well-organized system for storing project-related documents, research materials, and drafts. This will make it easy to access relevant information easily. You can use:

  • Folders,
  • Categories, or
  • Tagging systems to streamline information retrieval.
(d). Access to Subject Matter Experts (SMEs):

Establish communication channels or meetings between yourself, the writing team, and SMEs. If you don’t have external SMEs, you can reach out to industry forums, online communities, or colleagues for insights and feedback on specific technical topics.

(e). Utilize Document Management Systems:

Even for a solo project, consider using document management tools or version control systems to keep track of different document versions and revisions.

(f). Security and Access Controls:

Implement security measures to protect sensitive information, especially if your project involves proprietary or confidential data.

Steps to help you allocate technological resources effectively:

(a). Assess Technological Requirements:

Understand the technological needs of your technical writing project. Identify the software, hardware, and tools required to create, edit, and manage documentation effectively.

(b). Choose Appropriate Writing and Editing Tools:

Select writing and editing tools that align with your project’s requirements. This may include word processors, collaborative writing platforms, or specialized technical writing software.

(c). Invest in Version Control Systems:

Implement version control systems, such as Git, to track changes and manage document versions. This is crucial for solo projects or collaborative efforts to avoid confusion and track the evolution of documents.

(d). Use Communication and Collaboration Tools:

Employ communication tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or other collaborative platforms to enable real-time communication, file sharing, and quick collaboration among team members.

(e). Explore Content Management Systems (CMS):

If your documentation involves web content, consider using a content management system like WordPress, Drupal, or others. CMS platforms simplify content creation, publishing, and maintenance.

(f). Leverage Graphic Design and Multimedia Tools:

Depending on your project’s requirements, use graphic design and multimedia tools for creating visuals, illustrations, or multimedia elements. Tools like Adobe Creative Cloud or Canva can be valuable.

(g). Ensure Accessibility Tools:

If your audience includes individuals with accessibility needs, ensure your documentation complies with accessibility standards. Use tools and features that support accessibility, such as screen readers and alternative text.

(h). Provide Training on Tools:

Ensure that all team members are trained on the tools and technologies being used. Familiarity with these tools promotes efficiency and consistency in the writing process.

(i). Regularly Update Software:

Keep all software and tools up-to-date to benefit from the latest features, security patches, and improvements. Regular updates contribute to a stable and secure technological environment.

(j). Consider Cloud-Based Solutions:

Explore cloud-based solutions for document storage and collaboration. Platforms like Google Drive or Microsoft 365 enable real-time collaboration, version control, and accessibility from various devices.

(k). Evaluate Tool Integration:

Choose tools that integrate seamlessly with each other. Integration enhances workflow efficiency by reducing the need for manual data transfer between different software. An example integrating Slack with Google Calendar, Google Drive, and Jira, for seamless notifications, file sharing, and task management within a unified workspace.

3. Monitoring Resource Usage:

Throughout the project, it’s important to monitor how these resources are being used.

  • Are team members overworked or underutilized?
  • Are the tools and information sources proving effective?

Regular monitoring helps in making necessary adjustments and ensures resources are being used optimally.

4. Adapting to Changes:

Project requirements may change, unforeseen challenges may arise, and team availability may fluctuate. Being prepared to adapt resource allocation in response to these changes is crucial for maintaining project momentum and quality.

5. Post-Project Analysis:

Finally, conducting a post-project analysis to review how resources were managed can provide valuable insights. This analysis can reveal areas of strength and opportunities for improvement, guiding better resource management in future projects.

Collaborating with Other Stakeholders in Technical Writing Projects

Working effectively with various stakeholders – including subject-matter experts, project managers, graphic designers, end-users, and clients – is essential for ensuring the accuracy, clarity, and usability of your technical document. Collaborating with stakeholders not only enriches the content but also helps in aligning the technical documentation with the broader goals and objectives of the project.

1. Identify Stakeholders:

The first step in effective collaboration is identifying all the stakeholders involved in your project.

This group might consist of:

  • Technical experts: who provide the necessary technical details,
  • Project managers: who oversee the project’s progress,
  • Graphic designers: responsible for visual elements,
  • The Client: who has a vested interest in the project’s success, and
  • The End-users: who will use the document.

Understanding who these stakeholders are and what their roles and interests in the project are is crucial for successful collaboration.

2. Establishing Communication Channels:

Once stakeholders are identified, establishing clear and effective communication channels is key.

This might involve:

  • Regular meetings,
  • Email updates, or
  • Using collaborative tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams.

Your chosen methods should accommodate the preferences and needs of all the parties involved, ensuring that everyone is kept informed and can easily share their input.

3. Building Relationships:

Building strong, positive relationships with stakeholders is as important as the project itself. This involves understanding their perspectives, respecting their expertise, and valuing their contributions. A good working relationship can lead to more open communication, increased trust, and a more cooperative working environment.

4. Creating a Collaborative Environment:

Encourage a collaborative environment where your stakeholders feel comfortable sharing their ideas and feedback. This might involve brainstorming sessions, open discussions, or workshops. In such an environment, stakeholders are more likely to provide valuable insights and constructive criticism.

5. Integrating Stakeholder Feedback:

Actively seeking and integrating feedback from stakeholders is an important part of the collaboration process. This feedback can provide new perspectives, highlight potential issues, and improve the overall quality of the document.

It is important to balance stakeholders’ feedback with the project’s objectives and constraints.

6. Acknowledging Contributions:

Recognize and acknowledge the contributions of each stakeholder. This will help foster a sense of ownership and pride and can lead to more engaged and committed stakeholders.

7. Managing Conflicting Interests:

In any collaborative project, there are bound to be conflicting interests or opinions. It’s important to manage these conflicts diplomatically and find compromises or solutions that align with the project’s objectives. Effective conflict resolution skills can help maintain a positive and productive working environment.

8. Evaluating Collaboration Success:

Post-project, evaluate the success of the collaboration.

Ask these questions:

1 What worked well?
1 What could be improved?

This evaluation can provide valuable insights for future projects, helping to refine collaboration strategies and techniques.

Delivering the Project on Time and Within Budget

Delivering a technical writing project on time and within budget is a key measure of its success. This will involve not just careful planning and efficient execution but also proactive management of time and resources throughout the project lifecycle.

Staying on schedule and within budget constraints requires a disciplined approach, constant monitoring, and the flexibility to adapt to unexpected challenges.

1. Effective Time Management:

Time management is critical in ensuring on-time delivery.

This involves:

  • Setting realistic deadlines,
  • Creating a detailed schedule, and
  • Tracking progress against these timelines.

Utilizing project management tools will help you visualize the project timeline and identify any potential delays early on. It’s also important to allocate extra time for unforeseen tasks or challenges, as they are common in complex projects.

2. Budget Planning and Monitoring:

Budgeting effectively means estimating costs accurately at the beginning of the project and then monitoring expenses throughout the project’s lifecycle. These expenses may include costs related to personnel, materials, software, and any other resources.

Some steps to take when planning and managing your budget:

(a). Choose the Right Budget Planning Tool:

Select a budget planning tool that aligns with the size and complexity of your technical writing project. Popular options include Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, or specialized project management tools with budgeting features.

(b). Detailed Budget Breakdown:

Break down the project budget into detailed categories such as:

  • Personnel costs,
  • Software tools,
  • Research materials,
  • Outsourcing fees, and
  • Any other relevant expenses.

This allows for better tracking and analysis.

(c). Allocate Resources Appropriately:

Use a budget planning tool to allocate resources appropriately to different phases of the project. Ensure that each aspect of the project has a designated budget, preventing overspending in one area and shortages in another.

(d). Realistic Cost Estimates:

Provide realistic cost estimates for each budget category. Research costs associated with tools, materials, and services to ensure that your budget is based on accurate and up-to-date information.

(e). Automate Calculations:

Leverage the automation features of your chosen tool to perform calculations and generate reports. This will save time and reduce the likelihood of manual errors when tracking your budget.

(f). Include Contingency:

Allocate a contingency fund in your budget to account for unforeseen expenses or changes in project scope. This reserve helps you manage unexpected challenges without jeopardizing the overall budget.

(g). Regular Monitoring and Updates:

Regularly update and monitor the budget using the planning tool. Track actual expenses against the budgeted amounts and make adjustments as needed. This ongoing monitoring ensures that you stay aware of your project’s financial health.

Keeping a close eye on the budget helps in identifying any overspending early, allowing for timely adjustments. Regular budget reviews should be scheduled to ensure expenses align with the project plan.

3. Prioritizing Tasks and Milestones:

Prioritize tasks based on their importance and deadlines. Focus on completing critical tasks that have the most significant impact on the project’s progress.

Use milestones to break the project into smaller, manageable segments, each with its own set of tasks and deadlines. This will help track and maintain a steady pace throughout your project’s lifecycle.

4. Resource Optimization:

Efficient use of resources plays a vital role in staying within budget. Allocating the right amount of manpower and tools to each task and regularly ensuring that resources are used optimally to avoid wastage.

5. Risk Management:

Identify potential risks at the beginning of the project and develop strategies to mitigate them. Regular risk assessments should be conducted throughout the project to address any new risks that may arise.

6. Adapting to Changes:

Be prepared to adjust schedules, resources, and strategies in response to changing circumstances. This adaptive approach can help overcome challenges without significantly impacting the project timeline or budget.

7. Effective Communication:

Keeping all stakeholders informed about the project’s progress, any changes in the plan, and potential risks is crucial. This ensures that everyone involved is aligned and can respond quickly to any necessary changes.

8. Post-Delivery Review:

After your project’s completion, conduct a post-delivery review to evaluate the project’s success in terms of time and budget management. Analyze what worked well and where improvements can be made.

Complete the following exercises before proceeding to the next module.

This exercise will challenge your ability to apply the principles discussed in this module to a practical scenario. It emphasizes the importance of planning, collaboration, and adaptability in real-world technical writing projects.


Imagine you are a technical writer assigned to document the launch of a new software product. Your task is to create a comprehensive project plan that covers all stages from the initial planning to final delivery. The software has several features, and it will be used by both technical and non-technical users.

Project Scope:

  • Define the scope of the project, considering the technical details, target audience, and overall objectives.
  • Identify at least three critical questions you need to answer to understand the project’s scope effectively.

SMART Objectives:

  • Develop SMART objectives for the project. Ensure they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
  • Provide an example of one objective and explain how it meets each SMART criterion.

Project Plan:

  • Create a detailed project plan outlining tasks, responsible team members, and deadlines. Divide the project into phases.
  • Include at least five tasks and their respective deadlines. Consider the complexity of each task in your timeline.

Realistic Timeline:

  • Craft a realistic timeline for the entire project. Consider the time required for planning, research, writing, reviewing, and revisions.
  • Explain how you determined the time allocation for each phase and the factors influencing your decisions.

Milestones and Progress:

  • Identify three key milestones in your project. These could be related to drafting, reviewing, or finalizing specific sections.
  • Describe how these milestones will help monitor progress and ensure the project stays on track.

Task Delegation:

  • If you are working with a team, delegate tasks based on each team member’s strengths and expertise.
  • Specify at least three tasks and assign them to team members. If working alone, describe how you would break down the project into manageable tasks.

Project Management Software Integration:

  • Select a project management tool such as Jira, Trello, or Asana.
  • Briefly explain your choice and how it suits technical writing projects.

Task and Deadline Integration:

  • Input tasks into the software corresponding to your project plan.
  • Assign tasks to team members or yourself if working alone and set deadlines.

Milestone Incorporation:

  • Integrate project milestones into the software to mark significant points.

Risk Management:

  • Anticipate potential risks for the project, such as technical challenges, delays in feedback, or resource constraints.
  • Propose at least two strategies for mitigating each identified risk.

Submission Guidelines:


  • Create a document outlining the above steps.
  • Clearly label each section.
  • Provide detailed explanations for your choices and decisions.
  • Capture a screenshot of your project management software interface, showcasing the tasks, assignments, deadlines, and milestones you’ve added.
  • Host your document on our blog or any other blog you wish to.
  • Make a post and tag us on Twitter @TechnicalWriti6


Answer the following questions.