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Getting Documentation Right

Documentation: The Most Important Forgotten Part

Documentation is often maligned in projects for being too time consuming, too regulated and too distracting from the actual work that needs to be done. However, it’s important to note that projects with poor documentation practices will soon find themselves unable to determine what their status is, who is aware of what’s going on, and how much spend has occurred. It’s because of these reasons and many others that documentation cannot be pushed aside in favor of faster completion of a project. To that end, Bernadine Douglas, PMP, provides a few tips to help you get documentation right. She starts by suggesting that you know your source:

Having the information helps, but being able to backtrack to determine who provided it — and thus its worthiness and validity — is even better. This is important in the case that information comes into question later. For instance, if you receive a pre-defined budget for your project but then are given another amount, a senior source with oversight over your project can help validate the original amount. Be sure to have that contact's information and even a backup source in case that source moved on.

Clear Information Means Project Success

Next, Douglas believes that having clear, concise information allows for better knowledge transfer and longer-lasting benefit. This not only means writing clearly, but also providing follow up information and links to it in order to allow readers to quickly find the information they need.

Finally, using a repository to collect important documents is essential. Don’t trust your own hard-drive or a single person’s computer: it should be a place that is secure and accessible to the entire team (and accessible to everyone who comes after in your organization).

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About Matthew Kabik

Matthew Kabik is the former Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He worked at Computer Aid, Inc. from 2008 to 2014 in the Harrisburg offices, where he was a copywriter, swordsman, social media consultant, and trainer before moving into editorial.

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