Choosing the right documentation system requires careful consideration of various key factors. We explored all of them in the first blog of our new documentation system series. Once you have chosen the right documentation platform, you need to incorporate it the right way to achieve the results you want. This requires preparing your organization to embrace the new documentation system and covering all bases to ensure a smooth transition.
In this blog, we’ll explore the steps you need to take to kickstart your documentation efforts the right way. Before that, use our informative checklist to identify what to look for in a documentation system.
The Big Information Clean Up
In a significant number of cases, automation projects fail because businesses fail to draw upon the right information to “make things work.” Information gaps caused by a lack of credible data can seriously affect your automation efforts.
To prevent that, your data must be:
- Of a good size to accurately represent what you want to display
Identify Human Break Points
While automation eliminates the need for manual intervention in performing a task, it still requires regular monitoring and maintenance. That’s why you need to incorporate the necessary controls to align with human limitations.
Your team needs to focus on the creation and cleanup of new processes. The responsibilities of various stakeholders must be identified and an escalation process must be established. Once these responsibilities have been defined, you can begin to pinpoint potential breakpoints and address these with guidance, training and role amendments.
Keep the Experts in Control
Another major reason for the failure of many automation projects is that businesses rush to remove their experienced staff from completed projects to focus on something more profitable. You need to avoid this mistake.
Don’t be in a hurry to hand off everything to junior members right after the completion of the first stage. This often results in fault lines in the new process going unnoticed, recurring errors and bad experiences being passed on to the customer.
You need to implement a project management methodology to manage this issue. Focus on full implementation and hand over processes only after the critical phases are over. If you are confidently able to identify all phases, you could adopt a waterfall approach. If you think the project will be more fluid, you may want to consider the more flexible Kanban approach.
Building a Documentation Plan & Collaboration
Building a documentation plan is critical to eliminate errors and inconsistencies in the implementation stage. While each MSP or internal IT team is different, there are certain best practices that apply to all. This should help you create a documentation plan that suits your own needs.
- Separate Internal and External Documentation: Documentation that you use internally should not be mixed in with external or customer-specific documentation.
- Create a Dedicated Folder for Drafts or Unfiled Documents: Created a dedicated folder called the Inbox to hold your drafts or unfiled documents. This encourages your team to get started on documentation projects and ensures visibility regarding the workflow of documentation.
- Designate One Person as a Taxonomist: Assign one person to move things around, put everything in the right place and follow up on incomplete documentation. This helps you keep your root folder structure clean.
- Set Up an Internal Knowledge Base: This helps your team members learn new technologies faster, standardize the way you deliver service and dramatically reduce the amount of shoulder-tapping and wasted time. This knowledge base should include all mission-critical information including information synced from your PSA, RMM, BDR, etc.
- Create an External Knowledge Base: This is where you can store your SOPs and the information that can be shared with customers. You can use a secure tool like MyGlue as your easy-to-use hub for storing and sharing key operating procedures. However, if your customers are hands-on (i.e., if they have an in-house IT person), you might benefit from collaborating via IT Glue and MyGlue instead.
- Standardize Internal Processes With SOPs: Documenting your SOPs and making them centrally accessible helps you prevent your technicians from doing things their own way. It will help you standardize service delivery and ensure high-quality service every single time.
Build External or Customer-Specific Documentation
Customer-specific documentation is one of the most essential parts of delivering quality IT services. To help you simplify and standardize the IT documentation process, we have come up with a straightforward structure that can help you.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Inbox – for incomplete documentation.
- Administration – for purely administrative documentation like service agreements, licensing, etc.
- Knowledge Base – for specific technologies used by each company, including industry-specific applications and legacy stack elements.
- SOPs – for procedures specific to each client like “Disabling the security code at Location X” or “How to Install a Workstation at Acme’s New York location.”
- Projects – for active and archived project documentation, which may help provide support in the future.
- Strategy – to store strategic IT documentation such as QBR reviews, account management information and road maps.
- Assets – consists of information you need to know about every customer and every location to deliver IT support effectively
Use our IT Documentation Buyer’s Guide to know everything about choosing the right documentation solution.
How IT Glue Can Help
Centralized documentation is a critical requirement in today’s age of information. With IT Glue, you can automate the entire documentation process with integrations and open API. With this robust tool, all your mission-critical information can be easily accessed at any time.
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.
Watch our webinar “Mastering IT Documentation” to learn more about implementing a new documentation system successfully.
Interested in seeing what IT Glue can do for your business? Request a quick free demo today.
Found this article helpful? Share it with your social network using the icons below.