Document Document and then Document some more, for the love of Pete!

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Our company is growing. Growing rapidly. This means that the number of decisions that are made every single day are multiplying exponentially. And more importantly the number of people who have to understand the decisions and act on them are increasing even faster. Where once I could walk into my fellow VP’s offices and come out with a decision that I knew would be followed, now…it’s just not that easy.

There are agendas
There are distractions
There are complexities.

What is a guy to do?

The answer? Document.

The most frustrating thing I experience day by day is when decisions have been made, and people have forgotten not just what the decision was, that they have to follow that decision, but also why the decision was made. This has led to countless hours rehashing old arguments and circling around aimlessly as newer staff and employees bring up the same points that were thoroughly discussed and discarded months ago.  One of my employees is a master documenter. He writes everything down and posts it on a wiki. He’s king of Wiki organization. And the projects on which he works are far better for it.  So I started wondering why.  My conclusion?

If we all documented our decisions with Who made the decision, what the decision actually was, and why that decision was made, we would have an easy point of reference and there would be very little rehashing.  When a question was asked, we’d instill the right behavior by asking:  “Did you check the Wiki first”?

I’m making a concerted effort to document my thoughts, decisions, and the reasons why. I will strive to become proficient at this important (albeit time consuming) process so that in the long run, my organization and those with whom we interact will be able to build on what we’ve done…rather than rehash it.

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