Write down your process for doing things

Write it down now.

A very long time ago, I used to be a computer programmer and there was a culture that documenting what one did was a waste of time. A good coder just got on with it, a good coder didn’t need to leave namby-pamby notes in the code.

That reminds me of how my brother used to refuse to wear a seatbelt because he (believed) he was a great driver. It’s the same level of idiocy and it’s got the same shockingly, overwhelmingly stupid blind spot. If you were this great driver, if you were better than anyone else, that means everybody else is worse than you and they are all on the road heading your way.

Similarly, coders who didn’t believe anyone should document what they’re doing were bollixed when they had to update someone else’s spaghetti of a programme. Talk to me about elegance in coding, talk to me about the language of the very finest programmers, just talk to me about it all later ’cause I’ve got this mess to sort out now.

I’m minded of this for two reasons. The Evernote company blog just said it and said it thisaway:

Whether your business is a one-person shop or a multinational corporation, it’s very likely that you have a number of repetitive processes you go through on a regular basis. Some of these tasks could include preparing reports, submitting expenses, ordering office supplies, or responding to customers. Whether big or small, Evernote is the place to document your processes and maintain consistency.

Save Time by Documenting Processes – Joshua Zerkel, Evernote Blog (27 May 2014)

That’s not really a blog, it’s a sales brochure for Evernote and the full piece goes on to detail just how that software is good for this. But it does sound like it’s good for it, I am convinced.

But I’m really convinced because I helped a friend out with her website recently and it took me quite some time because the things she needed to do I had already done on my own site. I’d just forgotten how I did them.

I got it all working, I figured it out again – it was a WordPress installation, need I say more? – but I wasted a lot of time and actually while I got it working, I didn’t get it working quite the way I’d like. Not quite the way I have it on mine. I just could not find the specific plugins and settings I wanted for her and so I’d had to compromise.

So I’d compromised and it took a long time to get to the point of compromising. If I’d kept a note of what I’d done on mine, we’d have had hers running in a jiffy.

Much as I say about To Do tasks: if you have a complex thing that you do or even a simple thing that you have to do a lot, write down all the steps as if someone else is going to do them for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Blue Captcha Image