Over the last while I have been asking a lot of questions to my business partner. I have been doing an analysis for a client and of course I have come up with a number of questions through this analysis. Of course some of my questions were gaining an understanding about the software and also the client environment. Some of the other questions were the basic why don't people do such and such and why do they do things this way.
As someone who deals with policies and procedures, not having a procedure documented really does bother me. In so many cases companies do something the same way as they have always done it without really having a method written down, it's done like this just because it's always been done that way. I have also found that the method is written down and it is entirely different than how something is being done. I know that I have heard that quite a few times when I am been talking to various individuals. The biggest challenge is the time to go through the procedures and see what has changed and what needs to change.
Another good answer to why something isn't document is because, “If I document it, they can replace me”. This answer was the one that got me the most because if you are the type of person that documents and improves the procedures you are showing your value. If you just do because that's the way it is, you are showing that you are replaceable by someone else.
For my the “why” can help show that there is a need to change a process or even in some cases set up a process because there isn't one. The idea of having things documented is very important because if you aren't available to do a specific task someone else can look at the document and do most of it. It may take them a lot longer to do because they aren't familiar with all the steps but at least they can assist in getting a specific task done.
Ask yourself “why” when you are doing a process and see how you answer it. Do you just “that's just the way it's done” or can you actually say “it's the process that is followed and here is the document to show it”. When you even look at the document for the process do you see ways in which it can be improved to make it easier to accomplish.
Why seems such a simple question and being able to ask it and see the answers you get can be very interesting.