How do you ensure your documentation is as valuable as it can be? Great question. We’ve told you the reasons why documentation is so important, and how to go about building your documentation, but as you continue your journey with documentation we wanted to bring you a list of the best practices to keep in mind. Following these tips will ensure you are always documenting in the most efficient way, saving you the most time and providing you the most value.
The easier and less time consuming you make your documentation, the more complete and accurate it is likely to be. So when you have the opportunity to automate your documentation, take advantage of it. When it comes down to entering several hundred passwords manually, or having them automatically synced through an integration, the answer is perfectly clear. Automation is going to save you time, and increase the accuracy of your data. What’s even better? IT Glue already has a host of native integrations, as well as a public API to help you build your own.
Create a Hierarchy
It’s not about how much you document, but whether the documentation you produce creates value for you, your staff and your clients. To do this, you’ll want to understand the MSP Information Hierarchy. After you’ve spent time focusing on what documentation you can automate, start with your most routine tasks. These are the most valuable tasks to start documenting, as they’re the tasks your team spends the most time on. Shaving 30 seconds off of something you do ten times a day is more powerful than shaving two minutes off of something you do once a week. Having the most regular processes documented ensures that everyone is completing them the most efficient way possible, and thus saving time on a frequent basis.
Next, focus on your complex tasks. When these are properly documented, errors and inconsistencies are bound to be reduced. Consider how much time is wasted when team members get stuck on difficult tasks, or make mistakes that require needing to start over again. That time can easily be given back to your team when they use documentation to create a coherent roadmap for the tasks they need to complete. In fact, even junior roles will be able to work their way through complex procedures when these tasks are documented. The juniors might be slow at it, but at least your senior people won’t need to waste time holding their hands while they do it.
How do you know if your documentation is accurate and adding value to the process? Get your team members to complete specific tasks by following the process you documented. Sometimes, it’s easy to accidentally leave out important details because you’re so accustomed to the process that you’re doing it on autopilot. Stepping back and allowing someone else to work through the documentation will reveal whether you have missed any critical details.
Ensure you’re staying on top of your documentation. This includes your current projects, future ones and also going back to update previous documentation whenever it’s necessary. IT Glue comes with a visibility tool to see how complete your documentation is. If you actively manage this, it will be easy to see if your documentation is missing key components, and whose responsibility it is to fix that. Ultimately, your documentation isn’t going to improve if it isn’t being managed. Using these tools and techniques will save you time, and will give you the confidence that good documentation practices are taking place.
At IT Glue, we’re proud lovers of documentation because we’ve seen the benefits. But we also know that some people require a bit of a push to get their documentation going. That’s why gamification is an excellent tool to get your staff on board. Add incentives to get your team not only documenting their processes, but documenting them better. Consider awards for those who really adopt and implement best practices into their work. Through tactics like gamification, you effectively set your staff on the road to developing a culture of documentation within the office. The IT Glue Engagement Dashboard is a valuable tool to help build this culture.
Visuals are key to creating good documentation. We’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, but in documentation, they just might go beyond that. Whether it’s a screenshot or a flow chart, these will help guide any staff member through a variety of processes. Without visuals, your documentation can become subject to misinterpretations and delays in finding the correct next step.
Beyond the visuals, make sure that the language being used in your documentation is just as helpful. Writing processes clearly is imperative for your documentation success, and it doesn’t have to be difficult. Simple steps like avoiding passive voice, being concise, and making sure to move from start to finish, go a long way towards creating good documentation.
When in doubt, make sure to consult the variety of resources that IT Glue makes available to you. Our Knowledge Base is equipped with a wide variety of tools and information that will improve your documentation practices. Along with that, our How To series has plenty of step-by-step blogs to guide you through necessary and complex documentation processes.
If starting your documentation ever feels overwhelming, make sure to take advantage of documentation templates. These will not only improve your efficiency, but they will help set a clear path of how to begin your documentation, and where it should go from there.
When it comes to IT documentation, not all platforms are created equal. To make the right choice, you need to know what to look for. Interested in learning more about how IT Glue can help your team master documentation? Sign up for a demo:
IT Glue is a documentation platform aimed at IT professionals. Information is imported from PSA, RMM and other tools into IT Glue, where it is organized for ease of access. Document both hardware and software using automated processes to reduce the time it takes to onboard new clients. LucidChart and Word integrations help you document processes and documents as well. With relationship mapping and a robust search, your team will reduce the amount of time they waste looking for information by 50% or more.