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Is developer documentation important?

Posted by Martin Liwosz on November 10, 2017

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Although we as devlopers solve problems and that gives us a feeling of success and empowerment, I landed on the realisation that by documenting a problem not just jumping in and fixing it; helps make better decisions.

Ok now some of you might ask How did you get there? Others might say well yes of course. I'd like to think that it’s not for any of the obvious reasons you might think of. Let's see.

Not all problems will provide a eureka moment but a couple, even one on a particular subject can lead to the formulation of a business transformation initiative. Yes it's happened and while my heart is still beating at a million miles and hour from hearing the news, it’s my inspiration for getting the blog out.

So there I was looking at this problem, the more I investigated the more I uncovered. It got to the point where I just stopped and thought ok Martin, what you ultimately want to prove with your hunch or lead to is how you can further maximise the ROI of the investment.

This lead me to the following:

When problem solving try to build on the problem. I know "build on the problem" reads oddly but consider this try to identify the areas for improvement and possible solutions.

Problem investigation / isolation is the best time to understand the condition or health of your asset and essential for justification for further investment (if necessary). You need to carry out this exercise anyway so why not maximise the value of the exercise and be sure to document the issue to the most appropriate level.

The result doesn’t have to necessarily lead to a business transformation initiative however the documentation could help to lead to better future problem isolation or reduction in the number of problems or defects requiring remediation.

Having a guide or bible to consult may show the same error and the various ways in which it can manifest. Further to that it will also help the team further by being able to ask someone who faced a similar issue previously how they approached a problem. Obviously building on a sense of team is never an issue (unless someone wants out).

Hopefully this helps you on your development journey.

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