Documentation, in today’s complex business environment, is inevitable. To evolve and grow, an organization requires to make changes to its workflow, business processes, etc. In these situations, structured documentation ensures that there is always a way back to the current version of the organization if the need arises. It is not only about being able to bring everything back to the desired previous stage, documentation lays down the foundation for the beginning of new processes. Therefore, one always has a basis to refer to in the future. This holds highly true in cases of technical content deliverables. It is for this reason that management and version control of these documents have gained popularity.
Documentation is highly crucial, but it can prove to be valueless if not done in a structured manner. The purpose of documentation should be to develop a living content that stands through the test of time and grows with the company. Few of the primary advantages that are catalyzing the shift in organizations towards structured documentation are as follows:
Saves Reading Time
Structured documentation makes it easier for the user to grasp information. Further, it is also convenient to directly go to the section of required information if the document is structured in a standardized way. It can save a considerable amount of time for the user.
If documentation follows a defined layout or template, it is easier to record all the necessary information with a higher degree of efficiency. However, it is not always possible to fit one shoe size for all. Therefore, it is imperative to follow a definite structure for documentation, which is also flexible.
Easy Future Reference
Structured documentation is a complex but necessary process. One can’t remember everything and it is required to keep a written record for reference in the future. For legacy documents, it is mandated by law to keep a record of things, such as contracts, partnership agreements, taxes, etc. This can be pulled off by law personnel if any dispute arises, thus, making it highly important to maintain.
Identification of Inconsistency
Structured documentation enables the identification of inconsistencies. Documentation of processes and programs can help in early and easy identification of deviations, thus, maintaining the premium quality of products and services.
Reduce the duplicity of content
Structured documentation lets you reuse the data or information already written. There are various methods to perform the documentation work, most of them allow to use tags and references from the previous document. Hence reducing the duplication of the same content as well as saves time and effort of the resource.
Structured documentation can be an overwhelming process for any organization. It seems to be a herculean task for personnel whose primary focus is on other tasks and documentation just comes as a part of it. In these cases, the purpose of structured documentation is likely to be lost. Further, the centralized question remains – how to choose a structure for documentation?
The advantages of structured documentation and legacy documentation outweigh the problems faced in the process. Therefore, it is highly recommended to outsource documentation work to organizations who are not only experts but also understand the purpose of documentation.