Tuesday, June 25, 2024


This is a question that I ask so often and the reason I do that is to get an answer that I think someone knows, but I am not certain and/or get them to think about why.

As a documentor being able to ask someone why they are doing something in a specific way can help provide either an answer to that standard question or it might not. I have asked that question before and the answer I got back was “Because it’s how it’s always been done.” In some many jobs you are taught by someone how to do a specific task, and you will continue to do it that way because that is how you do it or at least that is how the other person did it. It is amazing when you can look at the specific task and take it apart step by step that you may find an easier way of doing something. For me, I will sit and listen to the person explain the task and make lots of notes, and then see if there is an easier way to do that task and get the same results.

When you can ask that simple question of “Why do you …” it will make people think about why they are doing something and how they are doing it. It is a matter of sitting back and thinking about a process and how it might be done differently. Also asking the question, “Why?” can help with the documentation, especially if there are specific steps that are required. In some jobs there are specific tasks/steps that must be performed and for a lot of people they just become routine, and they don’t think about them at all.

Here are so different ways of asking questions that will give you different answers.

  • Why do you do this specific step before another step?
  • Why do you do have to take copies of the item so many times?
  • Why does it work that way?

It is always fun when you can sit back and think through a process and see ways to improve it, even if they are just small changes. Some of those small changes and make the process a lot easier to do and maybe even faster to accomplish.

Why, seems like such a simple word, but it can spark a conversation that will provide a lot of information. Yes, there are times when I may sound silly asking that question quite a few times, but the more detail I can get the better documentation I can do. Sure, just watching a person do a job is one way to document it but understand the steps and why they are doing something is also a key part of understanding the job so that it can be documented.

So, next time you hear me ask “Why” understand that I am trying to make sure that you also know why you are doing a specific task a specific way.

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