A living document seldom lives

In Uncategorized on April 2, 2010 at 6:42 am

Documenting your work can be dreary. Its not as creative as writing a piece of code or solving a problem, which are fun activities. Unless you are a document writer, chances are you do not look forward to this part of the job. However, it is important to document your work so that:

  • Some time from now you can look back and recollect what you did
  • Pass the work to someone else and you can move to solve the next problem
  • It may be required if you are in certain type of industry or for certain customers
  • Its good housekeeping to close the project correctly

There are circumstances however, where a process is created to keep documents current ‘just because’. When your team is going at the pace of 500 miles per hour, if you require them to document every little change or development, you have to ensure that you have the right business justification for it and provide resources to facilitate this.

Expecting your team to keep a document alive can be a painful process. It can slow down the progress. Eventually, the looming project deadline will always take priority over writing a document. This renders your living document aged and untouched. Instead, keep the work flow & work style of your people in mind when you request something of them. Create a process that fits their style to create a win-win situation. Can you request them to just jot down key points during the project? Then can they write a complete and proper document at the end of the project and close the loop?

I would like to hear your ideas on the topic.


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