Doug Hahn


Engineered docs that reduced risk for a time clock app


  • Technical Writing
  • Collaboration
  • Documentation
  • Facilitation
  • Problem-Solving
  • Research
  • Web Development
  • Static Sites
  • Root Cause Analysis


Robust documentation website used to create and perform continuous quality control on a custom time clock, adhering to HR guidelines in multiple states.

The backbone of a company’s clock

I researched and built the core documentation for a time clock system used across multiple states, several companies, and many types of employees (from seasonal farm workers to executives and union members).


A major first part of this project was researching and documenting policy histories to fully understand each pay type in each state, and to uncover the root cause of any discrepancies. The client primarily operated in California and Nevada, and had conducted businesses in several domains for decades. My first goal, therefore, was to become a historian of pay types and accrual rates in order to create comprehensive docs that would reduce risk for the client and help the engineers design a better product.

To achieve this I leveraged informal authority to build a collegial and collaborative atmosphere founded on a commitment to consistency. This resulted in the team following through promptly and a high level of engagement, clarity of mission, and tailoring communication to their preferences (one leader preferred messages over chat; another phone calls). This rapport helped the subject matter experts from HR to work though problems together and uncover the root cause of several discrepancies in the existing documentation; while the system had fortunately been working correctly some of these changes had not been documented. Had these faults been translated into the new application they would have exposed the company to litigation and potentially caused the project to fail.


The documents were written with Sphinx technical documentation software and published in a searchable, version-controlled format on a private documentation website. Versioning was a critical component of this project, as we needed to ensure all stakeholders were using the latest documentation. While version control creates a natural changelog that can help the technical writer or auditor dig into every granular edit, I also built a changelog with notable updates for higher-level stakeholders to reference. This document was searchable, cross-referenceable, and had deep linking built in to enhance communication.

The time clock website, offering robust search, cross-referencing, and precise navigation
The time clock website, offering robust search, cross-referencing, and precise navigation

Once we documented context and rates of all pay types and accruals, it was a simple task decomposing these items and translating them into equations for the engineering team:

Framing calculations mathematically for the developers
Framing calculations mathematically for the developers

Continuous Quality Control

I helped the engineers define and implement a continuous testing plan. I documented use-cases for each kind of pay type, and collaborated on a checklist of tests to run on a schedule based on certain criteria (for example, Vacation: midnight shifts: Status Flag U employee Shift starts at 10PM Monday and ends at 7AM Tuesday requests VAC starting at 10pm Tuesday). This continuous quality control program was used throughout the software life cycle to mitigate risk for the company.

A sample of a quality control checklist run on a schedule
A sample of a quality control checklist run on a schedule

The documentation was critical throughout the product life cycle. One senior engineer said it saved the company costly work, and helped them track accountability and bugs, onboard new team members, and efficiently implement pay type changes down the line.