Imagine each employee using their own naming convention for the documentation that they create. It will defeat the very purpose of documentation, leading to duplication, information squirreling and more time wasted locating information.   

For documentation to work its magic, you need to keep the naming conventions consistent. This should start as soon as you deploy a documentation software. Don’t put your team in a situation where they have to go through each document and then rename it. Sticking to a naming convention will make it easier for your team to deduce a document’s contents by merely looking at the file name.  

Proven Naming Convention Tips    

Based on our interactions with our partners, we have put together a list of proven IT documentation naming convention practices that you can implement straight away. These are primarily focused on key differences and similarities found in your daily operations/projects.  

  • Establish a standard date format like YYMMDD or YYYYMMDD 

  • Keep the names short and crisp  

  • Refrain from using non-alphabetic and non-numerical characters such as &, @, etc.  

  • Use underscores, dashes, words with no separation or camel case instead of spaces  

  • Ensure that each name is unique for the same scope  

  • Define standard terms for referring to files and locations to avoid confusion  

  • Make sure the naming conventions are publicly accessible so teammates can look them up quickly 

  • Train your team before you get started and set up quizzes to ensure everyone is on the same page  

  • Specify the version-numbering style that you are planning to implement  

  • In case there are more than nine files in sequential order, consider adding zeros in front of the version numbers to maintain the correct order (e.g., 001, 002, 003…)  

Few things to keep in mind to make your naming conventions more effective  

Although these are not hard and fast rules, following them should reduce confusion and help you get more out of your documentation.  

Use the Organization Name When Needed   

If you serve multiple clients, it makes sense to add the organization name to file names. That way, you will have at least one differentiator if two clients use the same device and are also based in the same city. It could be organization-location-device type-number. However, if you are running an internal IT team, this may not be required.  

Include Abbreviations to Make Names Easily Understandable   

Longer names are harder to decipher. The end result is that it will slow down your team. Instead, set up abbreviations for variables such as organization name, location, device type, among others. For instance, a firewall device could be shortened to FWD, which would then be followed by the model’s name. Once you have agreed on the abbreviation, keep adding them to a centrally accessible glossary.  

Make Sure the Conventions Remain Consistent Across Platforms   

IT Glue lets you sync information from the rest of your tech stack, including RMM and PSA tools, helping you automate documentation as much as possible. These integrations can save you a ton of time. However, the naming conventions must remain consistent across platforms. If it keeps varying from platform to platform, documentation hygiene will suffer and duplicates may pile up. Before you actively start syncing information, make sure you do a health check.   

Get Buy-In From Your Team   

Ultimately, it is your technicians and service desk employees who will be creating and using the documentation. If they are not clear why they have to follow these naming conventions, they are less likely to do so. The lack of buy-in can jeopardize the whole exercise. Take time out to demonstrate the value of naming conventions – how it streamlines information search, leads to faster troubleshooting, promotes self-reliance and more. Once you get them to buy-in, you can start training them.  

Wrapping Up   

Never underestimate the importance of naming conventions. It is the foundation for effective documentation. As you keep growing, you will have to scale your documentation efforts as well. Remember, if you don’t take the time to define naming conventions early on, it will hold back your progress.   

IT Glue’s award-winning documentation platform allows for efficient storage and retrieval of all the documentation a managed service provider needs to increase efficiency and streamline operations. Watch a demo today! 

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