RE: Convincing management of the value of documentation?

Subject: RE: Convincing management of the value of documentation?
From: Walden Miller <Walden -dot- Miller -at- canoeventures -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2012 02:52:45 -0400

I think it is very hard to change someone's mind about the value of documentation. For whatever reasons (and there are plenty), some people feel that that writing gets in the way of learning and that corporate memory is not so important. Or they just hate paying for it or something else.

However, many people that do not value documentation value training. Go figure. If you are writing training material, then that may have value. Or maybe its just the "docs" part. Create training videos that can be viewed during orientation and reviewed when necessary. If a ninth grader can do the job, then the ninth grader will never read docs, but may watch a video :) There are a number of relatively cheap products to help create training videos (basically task-oriented screen capture movies with edits and voiceovers).

In larger companies, HR is sometimes a real ally: they like to push training/orientation videos. It offsets their need to know everything and it gives them a repository of knowledge that they can keep going back to. Likewise midle-management that often has to provide the technical orientation are big fans of training, but not necessarily docs.

BUT, as you probably know, technical product docs are more than training and so writing training material does not fill all the needs.

Just my .02


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