Documentation is an essential—if sometimes tedious—part of an engineer’s job. While documentation might feel like a chore, it’s actually one of the most important tasks for long-term company success.
Documentation provides new and seasoned team members with a living record of the business’s ideas, processes, systems, team structures, and more. And for engineers, documentation helps teams brainstorm, map, and explain product functionality and align teams and stakeholders across departments.
By centralizing this information for anyone to access, teams can greatly improve efficiency and speed to market because team members will have the critical context they need to make informed decisions and do exceptional work quickly and confidently.
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Thankfully, living documentation is easier to create than you think. The key is visual collaboration.
When teams collaborate visually, such as brainstorming ideas on a virtual whiteboard, mapping out workflows, and forming Scrum teams using org charts, they are naturally documenting ideas, pivotal information, and ways to improve. By doing all of this recording in real time, you will help everyone stay aligned and bring new solutions forward faster.
To get you started with collaborating visually and documenting as you go, we’ve compiled a toolkit of templates for common engineering use cases. Click any template to open in Lucidchart or Lucidspark.
Templates for documenting processes
Want to keep projects moving and teams agile? Document processes to identify pain points and areas of opportunity while showing stakeholders the big picture of what work has already been done.
Use a flowchart with swimlanes to show steps and areas of responsibility. As you continue with an initiative, add to this template in real time to optimize the process for business efficiency.
Current vs. future state flowchart
Continuous improvement is what makes a company stand out from the rest. Document your current vs. future state to visualize how a process, project, or product can be more efficient and articulate recommended changes to those involved.
Improve a process
Make the most of process improvement by using both Lucidchart and Lucidspark. Flesh out this template by importing a Lucidchart document, identifying problem areas, and brainstorming solutions so all team members can see how a process has evolved over time.
Templates for documenting systems
Understanding the systems you’re planning and working with is key to optimizing your designs and workflows. Use the following templates to map out the complexities of code and software and get consensus from stakeholders faster.
Use this programming code flowchart template to show the logic underlying your program and visualize the code to better understand the order of events in your software.
Database ER diagram (crow’s foot)
Visually represent the relationships between entities—like people, objects, or concepts—in a system. Use this ER diagram template to design or debug relational databases or in conjunction with data flow diagrams (DFDs), which map the flow of information for systems and processes.
DBMS ER diagram (UML notation)
Uncover how entities relate to one another within your database management system and use this DMBS ER diagram template to more efficiently build databases and implement data in applications.
Easily document the logic of an API to clarify its structure and quickly show developers and non-technical stakeholders how the system will behave. Customize this high-level API template to your use case.
Templates for documenting team structure
Organizations will always have team members coming in and out of the company—or even just changing teams. Keeping developers on the same page is essential for ensuring continuous progress and agility. Get team members up to speed quickly no matter where they’re located or when they join a project. By documenting org and team structures, distributed teams will feel empowered to ask questions to the right people and make better decisions quickly.
Org chart by Scrum team
Agility depends on regularly reviewing and optimizing your processes, systems, and teams. Keep up with the pace of innovation by building and organizing the most efficient and effective teams for the job. Use this org chart template to visualize your Scrum teams and collaborate with colleagues.
Scrum team skills chart
Building a successful Scrum team relies on bringing together the right people with the right skills. Identify the core competencies you need, and use a skills chart to highlight employees that meet the criteria. With Lucidchart, you can generate an org chart from employee data, add conditional formatting, and group employees by role.
Fill out this template in Lucidchart to keep an up-to-date record of team responsibilities in a centralized location for new and seasoned team members to access. Now, everyone can see who is working on what and see the history of how responsibilities have evolved.
Templates for product development planning
Product development planning covers the product journey from concept to market—including brainstorming, project timing, roadmapping, release planning, and development. Because the process involves stakeholders at multiple levels and stages, documenting and visualizing the work along the way can streamline development, accelerate the path to deployment, and garner buy-in faster.
How will your product development goals fit into your schedule? Use this project timeline template to document tasks, assign responsibilities, and map deadlines to achieve your project goals.
Product roadmap for teams
Communicate your project goals and product strategy with a visual roadmap. Achieve alignment on your vision and plans faster with this Lucidspark product roadmap template for teams.
An Agile release plan acts as a project’s map, breaking down planned releases into manageable iterations and sprints while providing needed context around product goals and expectations. Customize your release plan, identify and assign essential tasks, and keep development on track with a release planning template.
Scrum boards help Agile teams visually plan and track sprints. Keep everything organized with a template that maps tasks into easy-to-follow categories such as To-do, Doing, and Done.
Bring your DevOps teams together with a clear roadmap for success. Uncover opportunities for innovation while documenting a visual blueprint for the construction and rollout of your products or features. Try it here.
Make documentation work for you
By integrating a solution like the Lucid Visual Collaboration Suite into your tech stack, you and your team can collaborate visually and create a living blueprint of your business. Align teams across the business and document your entire workflow start to finish with our three connected products: Lucidchart, an intelligent diagramming application; Lucidspark, a virtual whiteboard; and Lucidscale, a cloud visualization solution.
Explore how the Lucid Visual Collaboration Suite can help make documentation effortless.Learn more
Lucid Software is a pioneer and leader in visual collaboration dedicated to helping teams build the future. With its products—Lucidchart, Lucidspark, and Lucidscale—teams are supported from ideation to execution and are empowered to align around a shared vision, clarify complexity, and collaborate visually, no matter where they are. Lucid is proud to serve top businesses around the world, including customers such as Google, GE, and NBC Universal, and 99% of the Fortune 500. Lucid partners with industry leaders, including Google, Atlassian, and Microsoft. Since its founding, Lucid has received numerous awards for its products, business, and workplace culture. For more information, visit lucid.co.
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