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Documenting In A Hurry: How To Make Documentation Easy When You Have No Time

by | Knowledge Management, People & Processes

The reason we work so hard is to learn so that we can keep growing. But documenting that knowledge is difficult.

Teams are often racing against the clock to complete their backlog, leaving little time for proper documentation. However, neglecting documentation can cause problems down the line, such as miscommunication, errors, delays, and bad training.

But without great documentation, your team can’t keep growing.

Three Reasons Documentation Is Hard

1. Lack of time

When teams are under pressure to deliver, documentation usually takes a back seat. However, failing to document the work that has been done can cause significant problems down the line.

2. Inconsistent documentation

Most teams leave documentation up to each member’s favorite method. This makes it hard for others to learn from the documentation and keep it up-to-date. Most people abandon bad documentation and figure it out on their own.

3. Lack of a system and owner

Without standards, everyone turns to their favorite tool. This makes documentation slow, tedious work that doesn’t get done. Without someone responsible for making sure documentation happens, it simply doesn’t.

The good news? There’s a formula for solving this problem.

Three Ways To Make Documentation Easy

1. Make documentation a priority

As the saying goes, “If you don’t have time to do it right, you don’t have time to do it twice.” Documentation should be an integral part of the project, and teams should prioritize it as much as any other task. This means setting aside time for documentation, creating a schedule that includes documentation milestones, ensuring that all team members understand the importance of documenting their work, and creating incentives for great documentation.

2. Define documentation standards

Teams should define clear documentation standards that all team members must follow. The best teams use templates that cover the type of information that needs to be documented, the format in which it should be presented, and how frequently it should be updated.

3. Provide an automated system with clear ownership

This can be achieved through tools such as documentation management software, which can automatically update documentation when changes are made to the project. Make someone responsible for the system and its documents, and make everyone responsible for documenting their work. Remember to provide great incentives, because every time knowledge is documented, waste is prevented.

Follow these practices and faster than you thought possible, documentation will transform from a tedious backlog item to your team’s secret superpower.

Want More Help? Try Extelli

Extelli was built to help unstick teams.

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