Are you looking for some technical writing examples for inspiration?
Are you a technology leader in an enterprise or an entrepreneur with plans to roll out a software product? Alternatively, do you plan to lead a technology-assisted transformation in your organization?
Dissemination of information is the key to your project’s success. You need excellent technical writing capabilities in your team.
In this article, we discuss technical writing examples that will help you to understand the standards you need to achieve.
We also briefly talk about technical writing and why it matters. We talk about various kinds of technical writing. Finally, we show examples of prominent kinds of technical writing.
Technical writing: A brief introduction
Technical writing is a form of writing used to disseminate information about technology or products. The target audience is typically a niche segment that’s related in some way to the technology or product. You need technical writing to facilitate the use of a product or technology, execute a project, inform a wider audience about the technology, etc.
Technical writing varies significantly from other forms of business writing. It also varies noticeably from other forms of mass communication like fictional writing, journalism, product promotions, advertisements, etc.
How does the job of technical writers vary from other writers?
We have just alluded to the difference between technical writing and other forms of writing. These differences make the job of a technical writer quite different from other writers. The key differences are as follows:
1. The target audience
The intended audience of technical writers is usually connected to the technology or product in question.
While the degree of the connection may vary, the target audience nearly always has a stake in technology or product.
For example, one reader of technical articles may be a current or potential user of a product. Another reader might execute or facilitate a project involving the technology in question. At any rate, their degree of engagement is certainly a lot higher than casual readers of news magazines, etc.
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Technical writers have specific objectives. They might need users to adopt a product, alternatively, they might want software developers to use a development tool.
In another example, you might need the senior management in your company to approve a project. You will need a feasibility study for this, therefore, you need technical writers.
Very often, technical writing is far from free-form writing. Technical writers will need to touch upon specific aspects of a technology or a product.
When writing a technical document, they need to write about the technology or product in great detail. That will help the readers get all the relevant information that they need.
The level of detail varies according to the audience. A project sponsor needs to know what value a proposed software product will deliver. On the other hand, a software developer reading an API guide needs a comprehensive instruction manual concerning the API, etc.
4. Templates and tools
Technical writers might need to follow specific templates for their work. E.g., case studies, feasibility studies, technical reports, etc., involve their specific templates. Technical writers might need specific tools for formatting, creating flowcharts, presenting their analysis, etc.
We don’t refer to writing style guides here. Technical writing often involves detailed guidelines based on the industry, audience, objectives, and other factors. Technical writers often need to follow best practices based on the type of technical document they write.
Different types of technical writing
There are various types of technical writing. The following are the prominent types:
- Case studies;
- User manuals;
- API guides;
- Technical reports;
- Feasibility studies;
- Project reports;
- Help files;
- Troubleshooting guides;
- White papers;
- Business requirements;
- Technical requirements;
- Technical design documents;
- Software architecture documents;
- Test plans;
- Test cases;
- Project plans;
- Deployment plans;
- Maintenance and support guides;
- “Root Cause Analysis” (RCA) documents;
- Standard operating procedures (SOPs).
Note that the above isn’t an exhaustive list. You might also need to create a technical document that solves other purposes.
Common Technical Writing Examples
We now review a few key examples of technical writing, which are as follows:
1. A technical report
You might need a technical report due to many reasons. E.g., you might be exploring new scientific disciplines in the research department of your enterprise. You want to understand the potential of an emerging new scientific discipline. This will help you to decide whether to invest in this area, etc.
You would obviously need to know the basic information about this discipline. Subsequently, you will need to know about its potential use. You need to know about the research done on it, furthermore, you need to know about the challenges faced by researchers.
This requires a technical report. Such a report would explain the branch of science to the end-user. This explanation should avoid jargon so that a layperson can understand it. A technical writer should explain abbreviations, and such writing samples often use a passive voice.
The United States Department of Energy has an Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) program. This group has created a report on quantum computing, and you can study it as an example.
2. Feasibility studies
You will likely explore several technical solutions for your project. Not all will fit your project, and feasibility is a key aspect. There’s a broader question too. Not all project ideas are feasible. Organizations undertake feasibility studies to determine if a project or technical solution is feasible at all.
Feasibility studies help you to answer several questions, which are as follows:
- Will the project you have conceived work at all to meet your objectives?
- Can you execute the proposed project in the situation faced by your organization currently?
- Do you have the capabilities to execute the project? If you don’t have the capabilities, can you hope to acquire them realistically?
- Will your choice of technology work in the scenario at hand?
- Can you use your choice of technology in your context?
You need technical writers with plenty of subject matter expertise to write feasibility studies. Review the feasibility studies prepared by NASA to understand the level of detail you need to provide.
3. Case studies
You may have implemented a project successfully. Now, you need to communicate this to your potential clients. You will use this success story to pitch for new business opportunities.
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Your sales team might need to know how you implemented the project. This will help them to understand how to pitch it in the marketplace. Your operations team might need to know about it too, which will help them to learn important lessons.
You should create a case study in such a circumstance. It should cover the following:
- The context of the project, i.e., the business problem or objective;
- The challenges faced by the organization;
- Various alternatives that you considered;
- How you chose an alternative;
- Implementation details;
- Challenges faced during the implementation and how your team resolved them;
- Lessons learned.
Depending on the nature of the project, you might need to provide the contact information of the project manager, architect, and other key members.
Case studies should touch upon the human resources side of the project. These technical documents should help your team members and potential clients to get important insights. The OECD case study on “Aadhaar”, the biometric identity program in India is a good example.
4. White papers
Have you come up with a significant technical solution to a prominent business problem? Is this a notable innovation that might help many organizations and people? You will need to explain it to a large set of people.
The target audience could be anyone from governments, businesses, education institutions, industry associations, investors, business media, etc.
You need to write and present a white paper. “White paper” is a broad term, and often these don’t follow one particular template. Obviously, you will need to write a user-friendly document. You can include all of the following in a white paper:
- An executive summary;
- A project report;
- A feasibility study;
- Market analysis;
- A business case;
- An explanation of your technical solution;
- A thorough description of the technology;
- An explanation of how your technical solution will address the problem or objective;
- The limitations of your innovation, if any;
- A product roadmap or development plans.
Depending on your product or innovation, you might even need to explain its economics.
Ethereum whitepaper is a good example to study. Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, the famous blockchain network wrote this white paper. Ethereum has undergone plenty of changes since the original paper so the project team has kept the white paper up to date, which is a practice worth following.
5. A user manual
Are you creating a web or mobile app? You need to create a user guide for the end-user. Alternatively, are you offering an API? You need to offer a developer guide. While the details might vary, these are various forms of user manuals.
Creating a user manual requires a laser-like focus on making it user-friendly. You need to include the following:
- Detailed descriptions of what you are offering;
- Tutorials including screenshots;
- “Getting started” guides;
- A description of each feature that you would offer;
- Help files;
- Troubleshooting guides.
The developer guide for the DataRobot Python Package is a good example to study.
6. Technical books
Do you have proprietary technology? If so, you will want to expand its usage, however, people need to learn it first. They need help. You should provide them with an appropriate technical book.
A technical book can include the following:
- A detailed description of the business problem or objective;
- How your proprietary technology solves the problem;
- Descriptions of the technical components;
- The advantages of your proprietary technology;
- The revision history of the technology and future roadmap;
- Detailed tutorials;
- Dummy projects that learners can use for practicing;
- Contact information of your organization so that readers can get help.
IBM Redbooks are great examples. E.g., you can read the IBM Redbook on a software-defined data center with Red Hat cloud.
7. Platform guides
You can consider platform guides as user manuals. However, platform guides in today’s cloud computing era are much more than user manuals. The target audience of the cloud computing platform guides is large.
Are you rolling out an “Infrastructure-as-a-Service” (IaaS) platform? You will likely need to create a guide for architects, developers, testers, and DevOps engineers.
Alternatively, do you plan to offer a “Platform-as-a-Service” (PaaS) platform? Developers, testers, and DevOps engineers are your target audience. You need to create a guide for your PaaS platform accordingly.
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A platform guide needs to have the following:
- A detailed description of the platform and its components;
- Overviews of all integrations;
- A thorough description of all interfaces;
- Explanation of management/administrative functions;
- Video tutorials of various features and workflows;
- Guides to download and install the relevant tools;
- Details concerning subscription, renewal, etc.;
- Troubleshooting guides;
- Support-related information.
The developer’s guide to the Microsoft Azure cloud platform is a good example to study.
8. Programming guides
Are you offering a software development framework for web or mobile application development? You will want software developers to adopt your framework. They need detailed documentation, therefore, you need to create programming guides.
Programming guides should contain the following:
- The objectives and advantages of your development framework;
- The scope of the framework, e.g., platforms that it supports;
- Prerequisites for using the framework, e.g., programming language skills;
- Instructions to download and install the framework;
- Syntax and similar details of the framework;
- Instructions to integrate the framework with other relevant tools and libraries;
- Coding, testing, and deployment guides.
The Core Data Programming Guide offered by Apple is a good example to study.
Final Thoughts on Technical Writing Examples
In this article, we covered the basics of technical writing and how it differs from other forms of writing. There are various kinds of technical writing, and we covered the main ones. We also reviewed a few technical writing samples.
Analyze your business context and decide what kind of technical writing you need from the several technical writing examples we discussed above.
You can read our blog on how to write technical documentation for further help.
If you need competent software developers and technical writers for your business product, DevTeam.Space can help you via its field-expert software developers community.
Write to us your initial project specifications, and one of our account managers will get back to you with more details.
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FAQs on Using a Technical Writing Example
You need different kinds of technical writers based on the technical documentation requirements you have. E.g., the writing process varies widely between technical instruction manuals and help files.
The experience of creative writing, the skills to write a good cover letter, or good communication skills aren’t enough in technical writing jobs. Technical writers need to process complex information and technical information, furthermore, they need technical communication skills.
You might need to plan ahead to find competent technical writers. In addition to technical writing skills, they need subject matter expertise. They should know about the style guide, writing an executive summary, etc. They should know tools like Microsoft Word, Excel, Visio, etc.