Documentation is power

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

In the dynamic world of software, having references is the best tool to never lose your way and have a guide you can always turn to for having clear ideas.

Documentation plays a leading role here.

I’m a big fan of asynchronous work for many reasons. And here, documentation is my best ally.

Although synchronous work is very good on certain occasions to solve problems and come up with ad-hoc solutions, I personally think that it should only be an exceptional tool on a day-to-day basis.

Therefore, I love to introduce the documentation process in my workflow. For me, it is an essential part of the work that every PM must assume as a facilitator of the work for the rest of the departments.

Why do I think documentation is power?

It is reusable. It’s like a good component that can be reused in the same logic countless times. When you create similar documented schemes of work, they allow you to reuse them in future tasks that need to come up with identical and tangential solutions.

These allow you to reach the same checkpoint at different stages of the product lifecycle, from research and ideation to marketing and sales.

It is scalable. When you document, you are directly and indirectly improving processes used throughout the development cycle. The documentation will improve on its own as you introduce new mechanics and processes into your workflow.

Imagine that you have to propose a new A/B test, going back to your past experiments and reading the conclusions can help you more easily identify what can work better and worse.

In a chaotic world, knowing where to go at all times saves you valuable time, makes you more efficient and effective. Time matters, although I am also of the opinion that nothing is so urgent.

Nothing is so urgent. I think this idea is quite powerful. The documentation allows you to take the necessary time to reflect, contrast ideas and propose hypotheses and scenarios after executing a key research phase for a subsequent definition.

Documenting gives you the necessary space to think and reflect.

Block cold decision-making and save future debt. It seems to be all related, right? When you take your time to reflect and group ideas around a certain element, you ensure that you are not making cold decisions, which in most cases will end up showing debt in future development.

Cold decision-making has a brutal impact on the workflows of all the teams involved. It blocks the benchmark and teams can feel lost when doubts start to creep in. Making sure you create the reference is vital.

Allows collaboration and abstraction. Creating documentation is not an individual job, it requires collaboration. Involving the rest of the team in the definition will allow them to abstract from their different realities and emphasize their needs, compare ideas, and reach a common landing point.

It creates a global vision, where many individuals contribute. Your team feels involved in decision-making and, therefore, more motivated to achieve a common goal. Never work isolate.

The documentation creates an anchor. Documentation is the version control system for management profiles. It allows you to access a history of decisions to know when and how things were defined. Prevent you and your team from feeling lost in an ultra-dynamic world.

It enables creativity. Lastly, I believe that one of the most powerful virtues of documentation is that it increases individual and group creativity. When you make decisions on the fly, you are reducing the possibility of creating creative solutions to your problem.

Take time to reflect (#3) with creativity to solve problems that are never easy. When it is also introduced to different parts, creativity grows exponentially. Don’t isolate yourself, trust your team to create meaningful things.



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