Is documentation still relevant?

There was a great question posted on linkedin by Danielle Vokski.  Her question was, “Do you think that documented working procedures are still relevant in the changing climate of todays market?”

In todays changing and evolving market place there has to be a way to communicate and share ideas.   Documented work procedures do not have to be a written document.  It can be a video, podcast or an animation.

Keep in mind complexity does not necessarily equate to more documentation and a thicker user manual.  Consider the difference between an automatic transmission on a car versus a manual transmission. Clearly the automatic transmission is more complex, but requires much less documentation and user training than a manual transmission.

Another problem is if the environment changes then the procedures needs to change too.  The procedures become dated and useless if they are not changed.  Yet, the change needs to communicated to all those that are impacted by the change.

If the process is intuitive and/or the product is designed well, then it does not require much user documentation.   Don’t be confused because I am not advocating something like the code is the documentation.  What I am suggesting is the process has been studied so much and designed so well that it is intuitive.  If the process or product changes then it is intuitive how to adapt.

The documentation and skill required to repair an automatic transmission is much more than that of a manual transmission.  In the end whose perspective matters.

So let me answer Danielle’s original question with two answers.

1.  User documentation needs to become irrelevant. If the product is designed well and it is intuitive.

2.  Documentation is still relevant for the technical documentation.  The more complexity that is hidden away from the user the greater the skill to understand all the inter-workings.http://www.dotcodedump.com/2009/10/tips-for-effective-documentation/Read more at Reboot! Rethinking and Restarting Software Development

Links for writing better documentation

Tips for effective documentation –http://www.dotcodedump.com/2009/10/tips-for-effective-documentation

/http://techwriter.dk/writing/writing-good-documentation.html

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