How to Maintain Great IT Documentation

BY IT GLUE | March 05, 2021

Great IT documentation is a beautiful thing. You save a lot of time, and more importantly, a lot of headaches. We all know that when you build out your documentation in the first place, it’s one of those “garbage in, garbage out” situations, so you want to set up your documentation well in the first place. Setting up great documentation is like cleaning your room – unless you take the time to regularly keep it clean, well, it just gets more and more messy over time. Here are some ways you can maintain all that beautiful IT documentation.

Ad Hoc

This is the “when you see something, do something” mentality, and trust me, it doesn’t come to you out of the blue. You actually have to cultivate this mindset within your team. Start by setting clear expectations that documentation is a team responsibility. Make sure the people you trust have access to edit the documentation, and it they don’t, make sure that they know who they need to escalate any changes that need to be made to. Process changes happen – technology changes and people think of better ways to solving problems. Just make sure that when changes happen in the real world they happen in your documentation as well.

Use Flags

The “flags” feature in IT Glue can be used to call attention to documentation that requires updating. If it’s a Tier 1 flagging, a change that a senior tech needs to handle just to make sure, or maybe you changed part of your stack and a whole set of processes needs updating to reflect that change, the first step to keeping documentation up to date is to identify the documentation that needs to be up to date.

Use Gamification

Whether you wish to gamify via IT Glue’s Engagement feature or via our CrewHu integration, you can incentivize keeping documents up to date. An effective way to use gamification is to score document review, which will encourage your team to take a look at your documentation on a regular basis, just to make sure nothing’s changed. If nothing needs updating, that’s great. However, if something does need to change, it’s better to identify it early on and deal with it. Proactive documentation often requires gamification, at least until it’s baked into the company culture.

Set Workflow Triggers

Workflow triggers can be set to alert your team to documentation that needs to be created, updated or approved. This is a great way to maintain documentation hygiene and it gives you a fair bit of flexibility with regards to how you want to set them up.

Establish a Regular Cadence

It’s easy to get caught up with your day-to-day work, fighting fires and whatnot. I get that. But time spent on documentation isn’t time lost into the ether; it’s an investment in your future productivity. So make sure there’s a regular cadence – weekly, monthly, quarterly – to go through your most important documentation, even if it’s just to flag items to revisit later. Setting aside regular time to think about documentation primes the brain to think about documentation. Your subconscious actually does some of the work here because you know that you’ll have to spend, say, 30 minutes a week, talking documentation with your team. Activating the mind is one of those things that leads to action down the road. At the very least, it leads to you not totally spacing out on documentation.

Now it’s up to you. What’s your first documentation hygiene project going to be?

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