Why Documentation is Unpopular
1. Tribal Knowledge
There’s always one person who’s been around forever and knows everything. Their knowledge isn’t recorded or shared in any way but you could ask them things. They tend to know what to do.
2. “This is Fine”
Unfortunately they leave, causing indescribable disorganization and chaos for the rest of the group. The room is slowly engulfed in flames.
3. New Documentation is Born
The group realizes this shouldn’t happen again. Lots of effort and time is put into fixing this problem. Everybody agrees — we should all converge on using the same things and not be stuck in our own little silos. And thus, new documentation is born.
Now everyone can access knowledge equally! Why didn’t we do this sooner?
3. A Few Moments Later
Over time, parts of the docs get outdated. Who can bother to go update it? This gets stuck in the back-burner as we’re so busy — there’s always something else to focus on (not to mention it’s already 50 pages long). Things change and life moves on.
However, we’re happy most of the time. Documentation tends to be relevant even if it’s not perfect. Anyhow, it’s too hard to keep everything updated.
5. The Group Reshuffles
Now it’s known that the docs are way out of date and best if they go right into the garbage. Instead, there’s a small subgroup of people who know things from experience.
As the group grows and breaks off to do other things, someone may become the go-to person for questions…