»Lesson 4

What to Document

If you’re just getting started, it can be helpful to have some rules of thumb about what to document. We’ve spoken with some of our most successful customers to get their tips on how they select topics to cover in Tettra.
 

Look for topics and processes that only a few people know

 
Ask yourself who carries around knowledge that no one else knows. Maybe it how you issue a refund or pull data from your customer database. Maybe it’s ordering new coffee or fixing things when an issue crops up with the internet at your office. For anything that just one person knows (or a small handful of people,) you should document it. This will come in handy if/when those people leave the team or even when someone goes on vacation.
 

Use the 3+ step rule

 
Remington Begg, CEO of Impulse Creative, suggests thinking of any process that has three or more steps. Remington did a quick brainstorm with his team, creating Trello cards for anything with 3+ steps. They then started to prioritize the list and chip away at it. When they adopt a new process or tool that involves many steps, they either document it right away, make a Tettra page suggestion, or add it to the Trello board, so they don’t forget it later.
 

Pinpoint things you’ve repeated before or will say again

 
No one likes repeating themselves. Nor is it fun to be interrupted when you’re in the zone on a project and someone can’t remember the login or guest wifi password. If there’s something you’ve had to repeat in the past or something you’re likely to repeat in the future, document that in Tettra. Next time someone asks you, let them know it’s documented. Over time, people won’t even ask you but will start searching for things themselves. Less interruption and less repetition is a beautiful thing.
 

Who should document?

 
Everyone on your team has something to contribute. Encourage everyone to get involved. Suggest that people think about the things they know or the tasks they tackle singlehandedly. If they’ve gone on vacation recently, ask them to think about the stuff that needed to be covered in their absence.

Your assignment

Think of five things that someone on your team knows that few other people know. Create a page suggestion for each of these items. Either assign them to people on your team, or if you're not yet ready to share with others, you can assign them to yourself.
 
Alternatively, if you use Trello, start a new board for documentation needs and add a few items to the board. Invite others on your team to drop a few ideas there. Getting people to commit a small amount of mental energy in this way goes a long way towards creating a culture of great documentation.