If you’re not sure what you’re missing when it comes to preserving knowledge, or need ideas on where to start - we’re here to help.
Here are 30 potential document ideas for inspirational enjoyment.
- Charters and Plans
- Legal / General Business Requirements
- HR, Hiring & Interviewing
- Engineering & IT
1. Team Charter - A team charter document is a North Star when it comes to team communication and project and/or company guidelines. Team charters generally include:
- Background & context
- Roles & responsibilities
- Team operations
- Budget, resources and available support
- Final Consensus
Read more: 6 Core Components of a Team Charter Document
Requirement Management Plan (RMP) - A more in-depth version of a team or product charter. Instead of being digested by the entire team before work begins, the RMP is used by managers and project managers to develop a macro strategy which includes all the finer details not necessary for a charter document.
Work-Product Charter - A work-product charter or project charter is similar to the team charter but more refined to focus a specific project or task. Some organizations will include the meat of their product charter within a team charter document, while some will find it easier to split them up.
2. Project Proposal (Press Release FAQ) - Every project should start with a short 1 - 2 page document in the form of a press release FAQ. This includes a summary of the problem or motivation for the work, description of the solution, and timelines. Ask those most obvious questions that you would expect from the intended audience.
3. Roles and Process - Define how team members should interact in terms of task ownership, hierarchy and decision making.
4. Goals and Constraints - A main objective for Google and many other companies is making sure employees have a sense of purpose with what they’re doing. Defining goals and constraints helps employers understand the bigger picture and feel valued. Also, being transparent about constraints and limitations is an important step for transparency.
5. Program Review Log - A program review document or log is useful for any funded program within an organization. Associated costs, points of contact, external partners, expected budget increases or decreases, etc. are included among other finance-related concerns.
6. Requirement Traceability Matrix (RTM) - A RTM is a traditional form of project management system that creates a matrix for tasks, assigned parties, requirements and ID numbers.
7. Personal or Team Goals - S.M.A.R.T. goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Individuals should work with their managers and mentors to develop goals. Every manager should take specific goals to help achieve inherited goals, and help their team improve operations.
8. Promotion Proposals - Write documents to propose and review promotions. These include several sections and should use the six page format. A reviewing panel should consist of peer managers, proposed role and level peers, and more senior management. The template includes:
- Employee information
- Recent performance ratings
- Describe the promotion (Current and proposed job title, effective date etc)
- Promotion justification
- Reasons not to promote
- Raw Feedback
9. Correction of Error (CoE) - A correction of error should be completed as a retrospective to some significant miss. Ideally, CoEs are self-prescribed, but management or customers might require a team to complete a CoE if the miss is particularly disruptive or high-visibility. The template includes eight sections:
- Title, Date, and Owner
- Context and Metrics
- Customer Impact
- Five Whys
- Lessons Learned
- Corrective Actions
10. Business Plan - A business plan or business overview document helps new employees quickly understand the company and learn the “why” behind their origins.
11. Business Requirements Document (BRD) - A BRD is created when a business enters into an agreement with another business or vendor. The necessary contracts and signed agreements then follow.
12. Non-disclosure Agreement (NDA) - Every company should have an NDA on file so they’re protected when working with vendors or job candidates. These can be created easily with the help of online templates.
13. Employee Agreement - Another routine document for companies to provide legal protection and transparency.
14. Employee Onboarding Checklist - Employee onboarding requires a series of documents, but a well thought out checklist is a great place to start.
15. Interview Preparation Document - Retaining a consistent message in interviews across departments helps company perception, which is more important now in the era of Glassdoor and increased vetting by top candidates.
16. Role Description - A job description that accurately describes the day-to-day workload and interactions associated with the role.
- Reference processes, artifacts, and detail interactions with other roles
- Describe lines of communication and reporting structures
- Describe individual success criteria: goals and constraints
- Focus on how the role does their work rather than the specific workloads
17. Feedback - Feedback is a gift, but critical feedback can be a challenge. Triggering a defensive reaction from the feedback recipient can do more harm than good.
Here are some guidelines for feedback documents:
- Use a situation, behavior, impact construct
- Describe the situation
- Describe the person’s behavior
- Describe how that behavior impacted the situation or outcome
- Use low emotion; describe impact in business terms
- Acknowledge biases and document author context
- Never say or write “You”
18. Audience Personas (Target Audience) - Audience research documents are usually controlled by the marketing team but should be accessible by all, and written in a similar format as other important documents.
19. Mission & Vision / About Us - This information is published on the company website, but a through document without the need for brevity is another powerful tool for workplace culture and employee training.
20. Marketing Blueprint - The marketing blueprint or plan is a catch-all for audience personas, budget and objectives. These documents explain the tactics to be used for a given time frame, and the process to follow if circumstances change.
21. Content Marketing Plan - A content marketing plan might be covered in an extensive marketing blueprint, but includes more specific details such as content categories, posting frequency and promotion channels.
22. Product Vision Document - Every SaaS company must lay out the philosophy behind their product which defines the goal and purpose of their product. Also known as: Product tenants
23. Use Cases - Documenting relevant use cases of a product or business is another helpful tool for employee onboarding and reducing the learning curve for new employees.
Also known as: Customer success stories
24. User stories - User stories define how users interact with a product. The traditional prompt is, “as a __, I want _, so that ____” These should be shared outside of the engineering team and reviewed by other departments.
25. Product Requirements Documentation (PRD) - A PRD is an essential document for product managers. It describes four key areas within product development: defining purpose, describing features, setting release criteria, and rough timelines. This should be shared with designers, developers and stakeholders.
26. Functional Specification Document (FSD) - This document expands on the PRD by defining the product specifications of what each function will do on a granular level.
Also known as: Functional requirement specification (FRS)
27. Software Requirement Document (SRD) - The SRD breaks down an engineering issue into sections and steps. It provides a reference for testing, design specifications and can be handed to a client to validate an understanding of the problem. Also known as: System requirement specification (SRS)
28. Test case - Test case documentation records test results. This can be used by for backend tests or confirming automations with things like lead routing. The tests usually include: ID, test scenario, pre-conditions, test steps and data, results and conclusions.
29. Troubleshooting documentation - These documents help developers follow the right process when problems occur. And how to understand and find information in logs.
30. Engineering Game Day Report - A “game day” experiment tests some operational event or error condition. These help highlight issues or validate that automated corrective actions are in place to minimize impact. Also known as: Chaos Experiments