Qui Suis-je ?

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Lyon, France
47, married, 3 marvellous kids. IT Director for the last 15 years for a large multinational company. I believe in coaching, in professional life as well as in private and sports.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Being Professional about Documentation

Whether you like it or not, the quality of your IT documentation is what really makes the difference between geeks and IT professionals. As an IT manager, one the daily difficulties is to convince the IT troops not only to build documentation, but to build the RIGHT documentation.

One way to convince them is to ask them to take over the support of somebody else application or responsibility, or a different site, without any documentation, let them feel the heat, and then tell them that time lost there is directly considered in their productivity...

If you're good enough after a while they will all start producing documents. At this stage you'd better be prepared as these might grow rapidly to a point where it's hard to manage. So think in advance while they are suffering with their word editor how you will :
  • structure
  • store
  • retreive and index
  • keep updated
There are tons of good vendors ready to sell you a "Document Management System" : don't be fooled : if you can't organize it on your side, no system will handle the situation for you, so I advise you to really give it enough thoughts beforehand.

Then you will have to face the technical content : sometimes hard to understand for anybody else than the writer, so why then put it down into a document ? There are some solutions to improve technical writing. I was amazed by the approach of "Information Mapping" from FsPro. See http://www.infomap.ca/IM/Resources/Software/FSPro/

Now look at your IT department : would users survive if your troops catch H1N1 flue and you get some temps replacing them ?

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