Episode 8

Google Season of Docs


April 25th, 2022

39 mins 41 secs

Season 1

Your Hosts
Special Guests

About this Episode

Sponsored by
Document Write · EthicalAds · Sourcegraph


Portia Burton | Eric Holscher


Romina Vicente · Ivana Isadora Devcic · Erin McKean

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to Let’s Talk Docs, a show where we explore the intersection of technical docs, open source, and community. Today, we’re going to talk about Google Season of Docs, everything that’s involved in it, and how you can apply to participate in this fascinating program. Not only do we have the Google Season of Docs team with us, but we also have a contributor. We have Romina Vicente, who is a Noogler, since she just recently joined the team, and she’ll be taking care of the program management with the Season of Docs team with Erin who continues to serve as an advisor to the program. We also have Ivana Devcic, who is a Technical Writer, Editor, and open source advocate with a background in linguistics and translation. And finally, we have Erin McKean, who is the Developer Relations Program Manager at Google Open Source Programs Office, Founder of Wordnik, and an author. Go ahead and download this episode now to find out more and keep writing and shipping those Docs!

[00:02:58] We start with Erin telling us the Google Season of Docs origin story and the history around it.

[00:05:02] Erin expands on what the obvious need is for documentation.

[00:08:03] We find out how Erin chooses organizations to participate in Season of Docs.

[00:09:40] Erin tells us what their outreach looks like.

[00:11:40] Romina explains what the success picture looks like for documentation and some top things that organizations learned about working with technical writers.

[00:16:52] Ivana details her experience as to the problems that documentation is solving for these open source organizations.

[00:20:37] Find out how Ivana learned about the Google Season of Docs and what he biggest takeaway was from her experience.

[00:24:42] What does analytics 101 look like for a technical writer?

[00:30:27] Ivana tells us from her perspective what the process was like when she decided she wanted to participate in a Google Season of Docs.

[00:33:16] Romina and Erin talk about dates or procedures if you want to apply for the Google Season of Docs program, as well some changes that were made..

[00:37:25] We end with Erin giving a shout-out to Sarah Maddox and Andrew Chen because without them this program would not exist.


[00:06:51] “Both projects and developers call out that documentation is in need but saying that you need something and actually solving the problem there’s sometimes a big gap between those two things.”

[00:07:32] “One of the metrics that we look at is that did the orgs enjoy participating in Season of Docs because maintainers don’t have a lot of spare time.”

[00:09:10] We’re looking for diversity across domains, communities, typologies of documentation, so, user guides, API documentation tutorials, and we’re also looking for diversity across audiences.”

[00:13:48] “Open Collective was hugely, hugely supportive to projects that really were great at code and bad at bookkeeping.”

[00:17:28] “In terms of problems we’re trying to solve, they are usually related to something that may sound simple or obvious but often a big problem such as content gaps on undocumented features, undocumented behavior, undocumented user journeys or paths.”

[00:18:37] “I think the curse of knowledge is an underappreciated curse.”

[00:20:20] “Checklists are my favorite flavor of lists!”

[00:26:31] “A lot of analytics are just proxies for behaviors.”

[00:28:15] “A million visitors to your documentation and no users is not a success story.”



SustainOSS Twitter

SustainOSS Discourse

Portia Burton Twitter

Eric Holscher Twitter

Romina Vicente LinkedIn

Ivana Isadora Devcic Twitter

Ivana Isadora Devcic LinkedIn

Erin McKean Twitter

Erin McKean Website

Totally Weird and Wonderful Words by Erin McKean

The Secret Lives of Dresses by Erin McKean

The Hundred Dresses: The Most Iconic Styles of Our Time by Erin McKean


How to run an open source doc sprint by Sarah Maddox

Documentation maturity audit

Interested in participating in the 2022 Season of Docs?

Timeline for Season of Docs 2022

Season of Docs

Google Open Source Blog