I work in the IT sector, and to deliver documentation is one of the requirements on every project phase. This is not the case if you work in support (solving problems for customers).

Some years ago, I had the mission of troubleshooting a recurrent error in the Accounting System. The problem appeared every end of the month in the closing period. After some weeks of investigation, I found the cause of the problem, I documented the solution for my colleagues and I made a checklist for the customers to avoid the situation in the future. You should think that this is a common practice, but it’s not always the case. And I wonder WHY.

I made a list of the common reasons for not writing documentation and asked my friends and (ex) colleagues for their opinion. By documentation I mean: the document(s) we produce to support our work or product and then deliver to the customer. For example: a user manual, a solution description, a status report, a checklist, name it…

The topic
“Why we don’t write documentation?”

The reasons
Very human. After we finished our work, the less we want to do is to go through it again and document it.
Lack of purpose
Even if a document is a requirement, we ask ourselves: Why should I made it? What’s the point?
Nobody reads it!
Typical! Have you ever worked in a document, delivered it to your customer and then, when the project is ready, having the questions: “Why the System works like that? Why the report contains (only) that information? Why… Why…?” Well, it was in the Documentation, remember?
No time/No budget
In Projects, is common to run out of time and/or budget, and since documentation is one of the last tasks on every phase, the “catch up” results in producing “some” documentation or even dismissing it.
No priority
According to the dictionary, Priority: a thing that is regarded as more important than others.
It’s simply not important.

34 professionals -from IT, Finance and Sales- helped me to rate the reasons.

The results

“It’s not a priority”: 1st place with 62%

Honestly, I thought that “Nobody reads it!” should be on the Top.

Now, based on the results:
Do we mean that documentation is not important for us?
Isn’t documentation something we make for the Customer?
Are we missing something here?

If documentation is not important for us, why should it be important for our customers?
No surprise they don’t read it  😦

To be continued…

Any thoughts?