Documentation is a process, not an event

A customer of mine who comes from big business (think 800 lb gorilla-size companies), asked me why we keep an up-to-date technology manual for our business customers on contract, but not for the occasional repair customer, even one who's been coming back to us now and then for over a decade. A tech manual is basically like the service manual and log for your car: In addition to a chronological log of technology decisions and strategies, we keep serial numbers, software versions, user names, logins and credentials, network information, external vendor contact information, service procedures, and a log of when they were last done and when they're due next.  There's a lot of information in a specification.


Because we focus on what's important and gets the most immediate results back to the business, we usually don't build a technology manual for a client all at once.  When you're looking for something you can't find, it can take hours, right?  But it always seems that the moment you stop looking, it pops right out in front of you. Sure, we sometimes have to find something we need right now- but It's often better to add documentation as you come across it, even when it's not what you're looking for.   To do so takes a tiny fraction of the time to get the same result.

Instead, we build documentation over time.   This requires the discipline and practice of documentation be ingrained into everyone at TechRoom.   Last week an architect I work with happened to find a box of software he had been missing for quite a long time.  The immediate need was already satisfied- he had installed it and was happy.  But he knew that our habit at TechRoom was to always capture, document and organize information- like the serial number on the label of a box.  The next time someone needs it, there's a single place to go, instantly, to not only get the serial, but to make sure it's the right serial number.   

Imagine the most fastidious, organized filing system that's easy to use.  That's what we want for our TechRoom business customers.  It saves time and money, and improves productivity.   As more times goes by, it saves exponentially more time and money.

What happens when the discipline and practice of ongoing documentation stops?   As time goes by, not only does the documentation become less relevant, but it can actually cause problems.  Try fixing today's configuration when the documentation references a previous configuration.  

If you have a repair-response relationship with your tech, and you're unhappy about the time things are taking, look at your documentation you're providing your tech.  If you don't want to manage your own documentation and want help doing it, give us a call.