Documentation – Get it out of you head

What is the purpose of documentation? It has a bad rap. People avoid it. Think of it as bureaucratic. Red tape. Just bad. A waste of time. Avoid it at all costs.

Yet it does have a purpose. I believe it does.

You have to get what is in your head out. In words if that works for you, or pictures, or any other means. You have to get it out of your head, externalise it, so that you can truly understand what you think.

And secondly so that you can better explain it to other people.

If you are not doing these things then how do you know you are building the right thing? Or solving the right problem?

I can hear someone answering ‘prototyping’ to that question.

And it part they are correct. But there is value before you start the prototype. Before you expend effort.

In some disciplines they use wire frames and outline sketches. And I think that counts as documentation to me. But in the corporate worlds I have worked that rarely happens. Because it’s a ‘waste of time’.

Kind of like the waste of time building something no one wants or uses is …

My point is that documentation, in whatever form, suits the situation and your own mental models, adds value.

And we do not work in isolation. We all work in a team of some sort. And the team needs to share and learn from each other.

So get it out. Get it on paper or a wall of wherever. Just get it out of your head.