Incorporating a new documentation system in your organization requires careful consideration while selecting the documentation system and preparing your organization for the change. We discussed this briefly in the first two blogs of our new documentation system series and now it’s time to kickstart your implementation and onboarding efforts.
In this blog, we’ll give you a step-by-step framework on how to implement and onboard your new documentation system the right way. But before that, use our handy checklist to choose the right documentation solution for your business.
1. Automate and Gather Relevant Information From Your Tech Stack
Before your team starts to document, use integrations and automation to gather relevant information from your tech stack. IT Glue partners can do this by simply syncing their service desk or service management platforms. After completing this, you can also sync your endpoint management platform. If you have information stored elsewhere, you might want to consider leveraging our API to build an integration.
2. Document SOPs Related to the Most Common Tasks
Once you have automated and gathered relevant information, you can document SOPs and build a knowledge base around the most common tasks. All it takes is five minutes to write an SOP or import it from a word document. This can make the process more efficient by providing relevant information at your fingertips.
3. Document the Network Environment
While it may be extremely difficult to physically document network environments, you can use an automated tool like Network Glue to discover, diagram and document your entire network. When Network Glue is deployed, it immediately pulls a location’s network information into IT Glue, capturing a complete picture that eliminates blind spots.
4. Document the More Complicated Tasks
Complex tasks take more time and must be dealt with at the end. This will prevent your team’s progress from getting hindered, and they will be able to realize the value of documentation quickly. Complicated tasks may not be the most common, but you can save a lot of time when they are documented. Optimizing this process can minimize time waste and significantly reduce errors as well.
5. Fill Information Gaps
Once you are up and running, you need to identify and plug information gaps. You can use the Completion Profile feature in IT Glue to get a birds-eye view of what has and hasn’t been completed. This enables you to plug information gaps rapidly.
To learn more about implementing a new documentation system, watch our webinar on Mastering IT Documentation.
Process Documentation & Diagramming
Once you have implemented the documentation system, you might notice that some documents are incomprehensible since some of your team members may have written the documents just for themselves. To make sure everyone is on the same page, you need to implement some guidelines for process writing and diagramming.
Process Writing Guidelines
The following guidelines can improve the quality of your process documentation almost immediately:
- Describe the process from the very beginning to the very end and use a line chart to conceptualize the steps.
- Avoid lengthy introductions. Instead, state the purpose, the end objective, the number of steps involved, and if needed, how it is different from a similar process.
- Break down processes into a series of steps and use numbers, bullets or phrases for easier comprehension.
- Each action should be associated with a single point in the sequence. Be sure to write even the obvious ones.
- Limit yourself to describing process elements and keep your writing crisp and simple.
- Contingencies should be given their own sentences, located after the previous step, and should be written as “if x, then y.”
- Write in active voice because the process document is a “how-to” — you need to write it like you were giving instructions to someone.
Process Diagramming Guidelines
Here are a few basic guidelines for process diagramming:
- Familiarize yourself with different diagram shapes and use the right one at the right time.
- Use symbols to denote different types of steps.
- Determine the scope and objective of the process ahead of time.
- Brainstorm the different steps ahead of time. A process diagram must be thought through thoroughly.
- Break each process into steps. Include each step on the diagram. Skipping steps leads to confusion.
- Show connections, sequences and decisions.
- Show the entire process from beginning to end.
- Use the right tool for the job. IT Glue is integrated with Lucidchart, which is cost-effective.
How to Maintain Great IT Documentation
While building great documentation is extremely important, you must also take the time to keep it clean and up to date. If not, it defeats the very purpose of documentation. It is worth remembering that choosing the right IT documentation tool is crucial even in the maintenance stage.
Here are some ways to keep your IT documentation in top shape:
- Set clear expectations about documentation responsibilities in your team
- Use flags to draw attention
- Gamify documentation
- Set workflow triggers
- Establish a regular cadence
How IT Glue Helps
While the documentation process may feel overwhelming, IT Glue offers everything you need to maximize your information’s efficiency, accessibility and security. As a central hub for all of your data and processes, with customizable accessibility for all of your staff, using IT Glue for your documentation practices will lead you to documentation mastery.
IT Glue’s SOC 2-compliant documentation platform features an immutable audit trail, multifactor authentication and next-generation password management engine, all of which are fully integrated and linked with all your documentation.
To know more about how IT Glue can help you with great documentation, request a demo.