A data analytics software company serving the healthcare industry approached Orbis Technologies looking for a partner to help them navigate the challenges of creating timely, relevant documentation and training that would support both customers and key groups within the company.
Because of the complex nature of the software platform, engineers were often asked to use their technical expertise to help create the technical documentation, which meant less time for the engineers to work on software development. Stakeholders were eager to ease the burden on the engineers and wanted to see rapid improvements in the documentation process. The goal was to have documentation and training completed for several key applications within a very short timeframe.
The first step was for Orbis to perform an analysis to learn the platform, understand the environment, and identify the needs of the various user groups. Based on this analysis, the Orbis team developed a roadmap for the company that addressed key areas for improvement in their documentation and training. Orbis emphasized that the best path forward was to reorient content development from focusing on application features to focusing on the specific needs of each user groups.
Documentation is most appropriate for providing on-demand, task-based information that people can refer to whenever they need help getting things done, such as adding a patient to the system or running a report. Orbis Technologies refocused the company’s documentation to explain how to accomplish specific tasks.
Training is most appropriate for building knowledge and skills, particularly around transitional times: during platform upgrades, while navigating organizational changes, or for skill advancement. It provides measurable learning that improves capabilities, providing context around when and why tasks should be performed. Orbis refocused the company’s training to explain introductory concepts and the workflows that governed the timing and decision-making related to performing tasks.
Orbis recommended that the training and documentation be created as complementary pieces of the overall solution. That meant creating the documentation, then using content “chunks” of the documentation portion as reference points throughout the training. This content strategy makes it easier to use and reduces the cost of maintenance. The deliverables were:
Combined, the components of user-focused documentation and training worked together to provide critical support to user groups including engineering, technical support, sales, customers, and others.
The project included four key components:
Due to the rapid growth the company was experiencing, there was a need to implement these improvements as quickly as possible. Orbis’ project team approach was key to delivering the project on time and within the budget.
The Orbis project manager controlled the workflow and provided weekly status reports. The rest of the Orbis team focused on building strong working relationships with stakeholders at all levels, providing timely communications to ensure everyone was part of the process. The Orbis team-based model made scaling seamless; the company did not have to worry about staffing the documentation effort because Orbis brought additional team members into the project when needed.
To accomplish such a big change in a short period of time would have been difficult without a highly functioning team to handle the ins and outs of creating software application documentation in a fast-paced technical environment. The Orbis team brought the technical and process expertise that was instrumental to the success of the project.
Soon after Orbis began implementing key improvements, the company’s stakeholders could see the changes having a positive impact.
Orbis’ practice of bringing people together to talk about the platform also helped to establish a common language — terms, phrases, and agreed-upon definitions — to be used throughout the business to build awareness, guide conversations toward mutual agreement, and support a stronger business culture around the capabilities of the platform.
The company’s leaders made it a business imperative to support the improvements Orbis implemented, driving engagement across functional areas. They reinforced this directive by holding internal team members accountable for their part in supporting the documentation and training initiative.
With Orbis Technologies as its partner, the company’s internal groups could focus on growing the platform while feeling confident knowing that we would continue to work side-by-side with them to develop critical documentation and training — delivering quality results on time and on budget.