Supercharge Your Documentation: A Book by Adrienne Bellehumeur
The following is an excerpt from Adrienne Bellehumeur’s book “Supercharge Your Documentation”.
What is documentation, and why do organizations bother doing it? As a documentation specialist, I have written this book to give professionals, business owners and organizations my insights into the best practices for creating highly effective documentation.
I became passionate about this subject through my own frustration. I had often gone looking for documentation research and best practices only to be disappointed with the lack of information available. Not only is the existing material lifeless and disengaging, but it is also focused exclusively on the storage of documentation rather than on its effectiveness.
Why do we spend so much effort on storage when the information that we have captured is, in many cases, useless? Organizations often assume that their documentation is effective. They also assume that their employees and consultants know how to create effective records. These assumptions are, unfortunately, not the case. I have watched many of my clients become disappointed and frustrated when finding out that the documentation created by their former consultants or employees is incomplete or unreadable and must be recreated.
If documentation is so important, why aren’t we talking about it more? It seems obvious that in order to have valuable information that is effective not only today, but in the future, we need to write it down and store it effectively. Too many organizations overlook these basics to chase a whirlwind of new industry trends, technologies, and buzz words. Some consultants would become unemployed without these buzz words and are happy to pump them out to their clients. Sadly, this vicious circle – too many new projects started but not completed, and too little strategic knowledge captured and packaged – takes a toll on organizations and their resources.
Organizations need to ask for more from their resources (employees and consultants) than just completing a project or series of routine tasks: they need to ask for their resources’ “intellectual capital.” Creating effective documentation is your only solution for retaining the intellectual capital that is locked inside the heads of your employees and consultants – the people that you invest considerable time and money to hire, train and engage in your projects and operations.
The sad reality is, however, that most organizations wait until it is too late. Organizations often fail to recognize the importance of their intellectual capital until their employee or consultant has left or the project has been disbanded.
Over the past ten years, I have worked with clients across a broad spectrum of industries to incorporate effective documentation practices into areas including finance, IT, operations and project management. As a result, I have watched my clients’ businesses grow and their perceptions evolve to see documentation as dynamic, compelling and valuable to their organizations.
After reading this book, you will never look at documentation the same way again. It is my sincere hope that you will treat your documentation with the same level of respect and appreciation as I have learned to do.
To continue this engaging discussion on documentation, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.To purchase this book, please contact Adrienne or visit Amazon.com