- Integration - Make choices about where to focus the work on a given day of the project and coordinating the work on the project.Used when various knowledge area processes interact.
- Scope - Verify that only the processes required to complete the work for the project are completed.Used to define what is included in the project.
- Time - Scheduling of resources and the time it will take to complete the various pieces of the project.Used to keep the project on track for the deadlines.
- Cost - Budgeting of resources and time required to complete a project and the future maintenance of the finished product.Used to determine the cost of resources.
- Quality - Identify and assign processes to assure that the level of quality expected of the completed project is satisfied.Used to address the quality of the end product.
- Human Resources - Assign and manage the staff necessary to complete the project.Used to develop and coordinate the project team members.
- Communications - Plans for how all communications about the project will be handled, including distributing information about the project, progress reports, and employee performance reviews.Used to coordinate all communication between project staff, management, and stakeholders in the project. Project stakeholders are people or an organization actively involved in a project so the lone writer and the developers of software, for example, are stakeholders.
- Risk - Plans for dealing with any uncertain event that could impact the project (risk) positively or negatively, including identifying, planning for, and monitoring factors that make risks occur.Used to plan for the risks associated with a project, whether their impact is positive or negative.
- Procurement - Processes used to acquire services or goods from outside of the project and/or project staff to complete the project.Used to get the extra assistance required to complete the project, whether by contracting another writer or buying additional tools to accomplish the project tasks.
Lone writers occupy a unique position within an organization. Generally, lone writers have their “hands” in much of what is happening within the organization and can anticipate a need for their services in a variety of departments. However this can lead to over-scheduling of the lone writer. So a lone writer must also become their own project manager, managing the documentation demands of the organization using the basic principles of project management. There are five main “stages” of a project: initializing, planning, executing, controlling/monitoring, and closing. I have found that I am more involved in the initialization process as a lone writer because I know what’s happening around the organization. Most writers are assigned a documentation project in the planning or executing phase since they are part of a team of writers and their manager performs the initiating and planning phases. I can suggest where I can help out in new projects or wherever I see a need for a process to be documented. I can then be involved in all of the remaining stages as I’m doing the writing and discussing it with my subject matter experts (SME). There are nine knowledge areas that a project manager must be able to use as well: integration, scope, time, cost, quality, human resources, communications, risk, and procurement. A basic explanation of each knowledge area is included in the table below. These stages, described in the 2004 Project Management Book of Knowledge, play a part throughout all stages of the documenting project. Each document I create has its own time frame, varying from long-term maintenance and upgrading of the user help manual to the quick editing of the marketing department’s news releases.