Monday, December 3, 2012

Documentation and its importance

Lately I have been dealing with a major project with a deadline of the end of November. At the beginning of the project, it looked like it would be a pretty easy project, but after doing some discovery, I found out that the project was going to be a lot more work than first anticipated.

The project was to gather information together and submit it as a complete report. That sounded pretty easy until I discovered that the information was in various spots and some of it wasn't even documented, so I had to do the documentation as well. I am not complaining about the documenting because that is something that I really enjoy doing. What I did learn through all of this is the importance of good documentation of policies and procedures and the need for having extremely good organization of these documents.

Organizations have to realize that documentation is required because if it is just in a person's head it can be easily lost. What if the person leaves the organization or isn't able to work for some reason for a long period of time. It is going to cost the organization a lot of extra time and energy to figure out how something is actually done instead of being able to look at the documentation and quickly do the work required.

I have heard people say that there is no need for documentation because I know what to do, so that is what is important. Well, it's great if you plan to be around forever and never have to be away from work, so no vacation or sick days. So even if you don't want to document what you do because you feel that it could result in you being let go, I am telling you that it's extremely important to document what you do. What if the company is audited for processes, and you are asked to show documentation about your job, can you do it?

So yes documentation may be a lot of work to do it, but having it does really help an organization. With proper documentation you can show that you do what it documented and what is documented is what you do.

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