I Kind of Suck at Documentation, but There’s an App for That!

They always tell you documentation is really important in IT or any work that’s complex, requires problem solving, and where someone else might have to try to repeat what you just did. It’s one of the best ways to not only avoid reinventing the wheel, but to get better over time by building on past successes. Additionally, it allows others to repeat your work when you’re not there and provides great data when you’re asked “what are you working on right now?” or “what have you done this week?” I know it’s important, but I get so caught up in what I’m doing at work, I often skip this step. It’s a terrible example to set as a director because I can hardly expect my staff to do this better than I do.

There are many obstacles preventing me from documenting well, not the least of which is limited time, but I think one of the main reasons is that I haven’t found the right tool. The ticket system is great for open incidents, but once you close a ticket, it’s hard to go back and find it. The knowledgebase in Kayako is OK, but not everything should be a public how-to article. I also don’t need something rigid that isnt’ flexible enough to allow me to get my ideas out in whatever for they come in. I want a captain’s log; something I can write in free form, tag, and search later if need be: something where I can write down the things I learn, catalog my tricks, and look back at later for laughs and for reference.

I think WordPress can be that tool for me. I think short articles written throughout the day on the stuff I don’t want to forget (or the stuff I think is important), can be recorded there. I can then categorize and tag my posts as well as write in HTML so they are nicely formatted. I toyed around with the idea of installing it at work and sharing it with the others, but I like the idea of being able to keep it safely password protected on my own server so if I ever leave my current job, I can still look back at all I’ve learned and have a good accounting of what I actually did on the job.

This blog will now house both what I’m working on personally (Project+ certification for my project management course at WGU, learning XML, etc.) and what I’m working on professionally (AAPC Certfied Professional Compliance Officer certification and many other things) as well as contain a log of the major projects I’m working on. If nothing else, it will help me realize where I’ve been and where I’m going at home and at work.

Here’s hoping it works well!