How to Overcome Barriers to Building a Documentation Culture

BY IT GLUE | February 24, 2021

Modern-day IT comes with so many moving parts that it is almost impossible to not practice documentation. Despite that, not everyone finds it easy to build a documentation culture. Companies, or rather, the people who make up these companies, don’t always respond to documentation the same way. While some take to it like a duck to water, it is still a hard sell for many.

But why is this so? Not only will we aim to answer this question in this blog post, we will also look at different strategies to help you establish a documentation culture.

The barriers to building a documentation culture

IT documentation is necessary and we’re pretty sure even your staff are aware of its advantages. But it also brings change. It means your team will need to get out of their comfort zone by saying goodbye to certain old practices, learning new ones and adding them to their daily workflow.

However, this is easier said than done. There might be several factors preventing them from adopting new ways. You need to first identify what these barriers to change are.

Here are some of the most common barriers to documentation culture:

Information squirreling

Some techs assume that hoarding knowledge to themselves makes them indispensable to the organization. Due to this, they may be averse to documenting and sharing it with the rest of the team.

Mediocre documentation solutions

Documentation is, by nature, a tedious and monotonous process. So, if the documentation solution you deploy doesn’t make workflows simpler or more interesting, it will weigh your techs down further, eventually leading to drop-offs. And if your documentation solution barely has any intergrations, it makes matterseven worse.

Single-person activity

You can’t build a documentation culture if only one person is in charge of documentation for the entire organization. Besides the risk of that person burning out, it again leads to the accumulation of knowledge in the hands of one person. That makes adoption extremely difficult and inaccessible.

Lack of proactive management

This is pretty basic. You can’t deploy a solution and sit back. If the management doesn’t make resources available for training, fails to establish documentation guidelines or make it a part of job descriptions and performance reviews, your techs are unlikely to buy into the documentation culture either.

Bad pre-existing conditions

If your existing documentation is in a bad state, i.e., distributed among hundreds of locally stored folders with inconsistent file naming conventions and documentation structures, then there may be hesitation to get things in order. Due to this, people would not be convinced about the value documentation would add because they’ve never seen useful documentation before.

How to overcome these barriers to building a documentation culture?

Once you identify potential and actual barriers, the next step is to take measures that will help you overcome these barriers and make everyone comfortable with embracing documentation.

Step 1: Deploy a documentation software that makes your techs’ life easier

Our documentation software, IT Glue, comes with standardized, centralized and structured documentation, and offers a high degree of automation. Not only does this make documentation less tedious, it also ensures documents remain consistent across the board, not to mention the 30+ native integrations and dozens more built by third-party apps.

Moreover, with pre-built templates and integrations, your techs will clearly know what to document and they won’t have to enter each piece of information manually. You can onboard them faster and with less hand holding. Plus, techs will quickly realize the value of documentation and how it makes troubleshooting easier.

Step 2: Use gamification to drive adoption

What’s the best way to make something that is a bit boring and tedious more popular? Make the experience more rewarding and fun. That’s where gamification helps. It uses game design techniques, game mechanics and analytics to measure, identify and reward employee behavior and performance in connection with documentation. You can use it to trigger your employees’ competitive spirit and motivate them to take documentation more seriously. This way, you can eliminate the negative associations with documentation.

IT Glue comes with its own built-in documentation gamification feature called Engagement. Combined with the documentation completion profile to identify gaps, Engagement allows you to see who is engaging with IT Glue and rewards them accordingly. That’s not all though. IT Glue comes integrated with popular MSP-focused employee engagement system, CrewHu. It lets you create custom metrics to motivate your staff and get them to create, edit and update documentation regularly. Plus, it lets you run goal-based contests to reward top performers.

Wrapping Up

Building a documentation culture may seem daunting but eliminating these barriers to change will help you achieve your goal faster.

To find out more about how IT Glue and CrewHu can help you establish a documentation culture, sign up for our upcoming webinar now.

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