I worked with a guy once, a talented programmer, who claimed he was “missing the documentation gene.”  That was his excuse for never writing anything down.

“I’m a techie, not a writer,” he often said.

Unfortunately for the rest of us, it meant when he figured out the solution to a problem, he didn’t preserve it for posterity, so the next person who hit the same problem would have to re-discover the solution.  It also meant his understanding of how a business process worked (which he’d then translate into some aspect of software) would reside exclusively with him.  That might be okay, I guess, if he were the only person who needed to understand it.  But of course he wasn’t.

Engineers and tech professionals are rarely interested in writing and they’re usually not very good at it, even when they are so inclined.  Yet the need to write down what they’re doing, what information they’re working from, is crucial.

“I’m a writer, not a techie.”  Perhaps that’s your refrain.

In the next few posts, I’ll tell you how you can use your abilities as a writer to bring value to technology organizations by performing roles in business analysis, process modeling, project administration and business process improvement.

One thought on “The Documentation Gene

  1. “Techie folks” not writing doc is really a failure of process. You can gauge an organizations maturity by sort of a process maturity.

    Mature organizations know that software needs to be maintained. In fact, “maintenance and enhancement” of custom developed software may be 80% of the Total Cost of Ownership of such software.

    So, mature organizations know “full software development life-cycle” and that definitely includes doc.

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