Dec 1, 2013

False security of documenting everything

People have this inbuilt instinct of keeping stuff in case those are needed later. In work life this is  seen so, that everything needs to be documented in order to use it later. In some companies this grows to be part of company culture. There are thousands of notes waiting for further use.

Documentation as such is not waste. There are many things that should be documented for later use. The hard part is selecting what is important. In many cases this selection is not done, but almost everything gets documented for further use. This starts to increase waste and eventually become a real burden to any organization.

This kind of company culture enables fire and forget mentality. It enable important issues to be set aside, because those are documented and will be handled later. This gives the false security that because I documented this important thing to the list of important things, it is not my responsibility anymore to take care of it.

This fire and forget mentality connected to high documentation culture creates environment where people get frustrated, start to blame the organization and even become bitter in the long run. As an example I've heard so many times, that someone proposed something to the documentation system and because no one took care of it, this problem now arrived. Even them saying something like the example, they don't understand the fallacy they have fell in to.

Organizations which rely less on documentation and more on individual responsibility, will actually get things done. Offering ways to move responsibility to documentation systems creates waste. It creates the false security of having things under control.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

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