In the rush to complete projects, meet deadlines and keeping stakeholders happy, best practices and easily turn into cut corners. And while everyone might celebrate when they deliver ahead of schedule, those hurried projects must be supported for years to come, which is where a rushed and undocumented project might end up costing your organization more time and resources.
The Importance of Documentation
In a world where everything happens at lightning speeds and the focus is always on the next release, the next sprint and the next requirement, it’s easy to forget that we occasionally need to look backward when we want to move forward. However, there are several good reasons that an investment in documentation can pay off in the future:
• Close Tickets Faster – When a system is well documented, it is far easier to troubleshoot end user issues and identify causes and resolution strategies, especially with a large team that is not extremely familiar with every aspect of your environment. This lets you spend more time looking ahead than supporting what you have already built.
• Staff Turnover – Employees do not always stick around, and once they leave their institutional knowledge walks out the door with them. That is why making sure everything is documented and tracked can be invaluable, especially if the departure was unexpected.
• New Hire Onboarding – As your team grows, their training can only cover so much. Augmenting that with a rich and complete set of documentation means, they can do some self-study to complement what their taught, plus it is a great self-service resource instead of bugging a co-worker every time they have a question.
• Receiving Vendor Support – Getting support from your vendors is far easier when you can quickly reference serial numbers, configurations, settings and other relevant data. If you cannot explain how things are set up, they might just tell you “that’s your problem” or take much longer to get you the answers you need to keep systems up and running.
• Preparing for Mergers and Acquisitions – While your exit and growth strategy should not be a constant obsession, if and when that time comes a well-documented infrastructure is essential assessing value, passing due diligence and making integration quick and relatively painless.
While few managers are rewarded by how many pages of documentation they have created, the metrics tied to the activities above directly affect the efficiency and productivity of your department. Just like brushing your teeth and changing the oil in your car, these little things pay off down the road when you are not wasting time and money filling cavities or repairing your ride.
The Benefit of Investing in a Robust Documentation Platform
OK, you know documentation is important, but how do you make sure it happens even when you are busy putting out fires and supporting internal customers? That is where a fully integrated solution turns an onerous, unrewarding task into an automatic part of the process and helps your IT department reach operational maturity.
With the right solution, you will have standard operating procedures, knowledge bases and support manuals that are available for every facet of your IT infrastructure and constantly up-to-date. You will have documentation that is useful for your team AND your internal customers, and the process of creating and updating documentation will turn from a hassle and chore into a pleasant step in every project.
The best documentation management solutions can automatically keep track of assets and devices, provide relationship mapping that links applications to their various licenses, usernames and passwords, and maps to your unique organizational structure, detailing which assets and systems are tried to each department and role.
Given that the average IT workers spends between 20% and 80% of their time looking for information, making things easily discoverable is a huge resource conservation tactic. In addition, with everything under one virtual roof, you can easily use universal search to find the data you are looking for instead of hunting through scattershot papers and wikis to hunt down what you are looking for.
So start saving time and being more responsive thanks to a well-documented system and the tools that make it easy. Find out how Kaseya IT Glue can deliver better support and performance for your organization here.
(Matt Volpi has spent more than two decades in product management and marketing bringing innovative technical solutions to market in a variety of industries. He has also managed inside sales, sales operations and client services teams for tech startups and frequently works with companies on their messaging and content marketing initiatives. Matt has a journalism degree from Penn State University and an MBA from Babson College.)