The skills we need

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I doubt many IT pros would suggest that code commenting is much of a skill, or that developers need training in fashioning succinct commit messages. These are necessary processes, professional courtesies, disciplines, that most developers would surely recognise as simply that: professional.

So what’s the difference between a true skill that benefits from care and practice (like juggling, for instance), and a necessary discipline (like filing your tax return)?

In this 5-point listicle of PM skills for developers on, Technical Documentation is listed in 4th position, repeating the mantra that documentation-is-a-skill.

But documentation is not a skill. Documentation is a process.

  • Drawing is a skill.
  • Writing is a skill

Even so, an advanced skill in writing is not necessary to engage with the necessary process of documentation, a process that merely records information (traditionally printed documents, but increasingly not) on some feature or aspect of a system, project, procedures etc. High skill in writing may help convey information more effectively, but it is not a requirement. If you can code, you can write. In the same way, a highly developed drawing skill is not needed to produce design diagrams or system architecture schematics. There are tools for that and, quite literally, if you can code, you can draw (mermaid , GraphViz , PlantUML .)

I would also take this opportunity to make the observation that technical writing is not a project management skill for developers, but a developer discipline .