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Document your work!

Reasons why documenting work can help you be more effective in the long term.

1 min read

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Please document your work! I’m speaking from the context of a software developer/architect, but this also applies elsewhere.

Currently, it may feel like a waste of time. You may think, “I’ll remember this.” or “I’ll never do this again.” I’ve been there (and still think this). However, documenting has so many advantages. I’m pushing myself to do better at it constantly. More documentation with less effort.

Creating documentation is a great way to go through whatever it is in greater detail and ensure you don’t miss anything. I can’t count how many times I thought I was finished with a task, but then found something I missed while writing out what I did.

Writing, in general, helps to ensure you understand a topic. If you can’t write about it, perhaps you don’t understand it as thoroughly as you thought you did.

Referring to a document to complete a task can dramatically speed up the execution time and improve quality. You spend a little more time upfront to save time in the future.

One of my favorite reasons to document my work is so that I can give it to others to do next time. I can send them the documentation and allow them to complete the task independently. Better still, when your team has access to all your documentation, they’ll learn they don’t need to come to you in the first place!

It’s a wonderful feeling when someone asks you a question, and rather than taking time to answer it now, you can send them a link to the documentation. It may be an official Word Document, a OneNote page, or even a blog post. If you don’t have the answer documented by someone, add the answer to the documentation now! I don’t know how many times I’ve answered the same question multiple times when I could have documented it. (I’m trying to be better about this.)

My “work” documentation is either in OneNote or other Office documents. I’m doing this because these destinations are shared with my team and easily discovered in the Microsoft 365 universe. My personal documentation resides in markdown files tucked neatly inside my favorite notes' app, and some are published as blog posts.

Where do you keep your documentation, and how detailed do you get with it?

Architect

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