Docs or it didn't happen!
If you ever skimmed through a README, tried to follow a quickstart tutorial, attempted to decipher an error message, or typed '--help' in your console, congratulations -- you have encountered documentation!
Long gone are the days of massive books with never-ending stories about your software. Today's users are smarter and less patient, which means that we no longer need to document *all the things*, as long as what we do document is clear, concise, helpful, and accessible. And that's where the real work starts.
Documentation requires some attitude adjustment, since prose doesn't neatly compile into binaries as code does. But Don't Panic(tm)! No matter what your role is, you can apply a few key principles from the technical writing world to make your project more docs-friendly, and therefore more user- and contributor-friendly.
Mikey (a.k.a. ""That Docs Lady"") spent the better part of the last 10 years documenting super-geeky enterprise software, most recently for OpenStack Platform at Red Hat. She is also on the global core team for Write the Docs, Django Girls alumni, co-author of the Happiness Packets project, and documentation coach for open-source projects.
Since joining the open-source family in 2013, Mikey has been giving talks and writing articles about docs, DevOps, and community. She regularly runs documentation workshops, hackfests, and help desks at developer conferences. Owner of the sporadic-erratic blog docsideofthemoon.com
, lover of music, dance, traveling, and coffee.