One of the most common issues we hear around documentation is that people are either too busy or uninspired to get it done, regardless of how easy or business critical it is to do. Here are six things we’ve learned through the process of assisting hundreds of organizations in their documentation process:
1. It all starts with belief
Your team must understand that there is true value to getting documentation done. This is not only for the success of the business but also for their own personal peace of mind. If they can visualize the freedom that documentation gives them to enjoy their own lives (e.g., vacations without interruption), they soon see the shared benefits.
2. Rome wasn’t built in a day
It sounds a bit cliché, but if you tackle the documentation “beast” as a giant, monolithic project, it can be daunting. Focus first on high return-on-investment (ROI) tasks such as complex or high-transaction customers (e.g., with lots of tickets).
Break the project into bite-sized chunks and delegate to the team so that everyone can see the progress being made. For optimal results, ensure that every task has a person and a due date assigned.
3. Create financial and recognition incentives
Never underestimate the power of a gift card. Consider building a healthy competition around the top documentation creators. Consider creating internal awards for the top “documenter” of the month.
Another great idea is to have a team celebration based on documentation milestones being met, e.g., 25 percent of top customers fully documented.
4. Create a peer leadership structure
Consider appointing one or two Documentation Leads. These people hold the rest of the team accountable. It doesn’t have to be a manager. Peers do a great job of holding people accountable to the work, and it’s a great opportunity to stretch people. Touch base with the peer leaders regularly to ensure that there are no gaps and that the project is on track.
5. Implement peer review
Rather than having a single person manage the review of all created documentation, consider a peer review structure. Each team member works with another team member to ensure that the document is both, complete and adhere to agreed structures.
6. Make documentation a core value
It is critically important to let your team know that documentation is a core value. This means that you shall comply or you may not be a part of the company in the future.
If you follow these six simple tips, you will very quickly begin creating a culture of documentation sharing versus shoulder-tapping. Using a structured documentation platform, be it IT Glue™ or something else, ensures consistency and efficiency in your documentation process. It isn’t a matter of why should you document, it’s a question of why wouldn’t you?