The following is a guest blog written by highly experienced IT pro Francois Fournier. Francois was one of the very first RDM users, and he has been a valued and important part of our community for more than a decade. You can learn more about Francois here

Here Is the Scenario:

A financial company needs to update its infrastructure. However, every infrastructure project runs into issues for these reasons:

  • Some of the systems are completely unknown.
  • Some of the systems are undocumented due to changes and upgrades that were executed without proper documentation updates, and the staff that worked on them are no longer with the company.

As you might expect, the situation is causing cost overruns and production outages, and related systems are becoming dysfunctional.

And so, management decrees that ALL projects must have suitable documentation that aligns with the updated infrastructure. In some cases, this means updating documentation. In other cases — a much worse scenario — it means creating documentation from scratch (e.g. conceptual/functional/physical architecture documents, data flow, operations and support guide, installation instructions, procedures, etc.).

Unfortunately, not everyone on a typical IT team — architects, analysts, admins, and so on — is proficient when it comes to updating and creating documentation. This is why IT pros who want to grow their careers and become even more valuable to their organizations, colleagues and customers, should spend time and money (ideally their employer’s instead of their own!) to improve their skills in this area.

Indeed, properly formatting documents and applying advanced formatting techniques and details can be daunting and complex, and so solid training using various drawing and diagramming tools will improve proficiency, efficiency and output. This is especially important with respect to creating documents using client-supplied templates that need to have a consistent look and feel.

Ultimately, the message I wish to share with my fellow IT pros is this: in the past, you may not have viewed “updating and creating documentation” as an essential part of your skill set. But these days, it is both a vital and valuable ability, and one that will serve you very well for the rest of your successful and growing career!