EppsNet Archive: Documentation

The Illusion of Control

11 Jun 2010 /
Paperwork

More paperwork does not ensure greater information reliability or accuracy — it only adds to the non-value-added cost. It only seems that adding more measurement and reporting means better control. The illusion of control may partially explain an obsession with control.


Thought for the Day

13 Apr 2010 /
Thought

Sometimes it is worth trying to find a way to solve problems that doesn’t involve more structure, more meetings, more roles, more documents, more setup.


Communication Bandwidth

27 Mar 2009 /

As I’m writing this article, I’m trying to formulate ideas, understandings, and experiences into words. When you read this article, you try to understand what I’m saying within the context of your experiences. In the process of narrowing my bandwidth to words, and you trying to expand the bandwidth from words to your understanding, a lot is lost. No matter how well I write and you read. And, most of us are not superb writers and readers.


Eliminate Unnecessary Paperwork

20 Jul 2008 /

If you need to explain something, try mocking it up and prototyping it rather than writing a longwinded document. An actual interface or prototype is on its way to becoming a real product. A piece of paper, on the other hand, is only on its way to the garbage can.

Getting Real, 37Signals

I Hold in my Hand a 63-Page Requirements Doc

24 Dec 2007 /
Stacks of documents

I hold in my hand a 63-page requirements doc . . .

We spend a lot of time reworking the requirements doc to reflect the reality of the system that we’re actually building. We also spend a lot of time reworking all the docs that derive from the requirements doc — design docs, UI docs, test plans, etc. — to reflect the changes in the requirements doc.

Another way to think of this is that the project is driving the requirements, rather than the requirements driving the project.

So why did we create all these incredibly detailed documents in the first place?

We have a vast collection of well-documented ignorance . . .

Thus spoke The Programmer.


99 Rules

16 Apr 2005 /

Here’s a short excerpt from an article called “Ninety-Nine Rules for Managing ‘Better, Faster, Cheaper’ Projects” by Alexander Laufer and Edward J. Hoffman:

In a dynamic environment, project management is not about performing according to plan, with minimal changes. It is about meeting customer needs, while coping successfully with unavoidable changes. Therefore, the planning system should be capable of coping with changes.

Jesus Christ, if I could articulate even one rule that perfectly, I’d publish it and call it a day . . . but there are 98 more of these!

Here’s another one:

More paperwork does not ensure greater information reliability or accuracy — it only adds to the non-value-added cost. It only seems that adding more measurement and reporting means better control. The illusion of control may partially explain an obsession with control.

A must read!

Thus spoke The Programmer.


Disorganization

6 Mar 2005 /
Papers covering the courts transcript room after a war crimes trial in Germany

We’re trying to figure out a directory structure that lets us organize project documents in a way that’s less confusing than the current directory structure. We’ve got a lot of documents and nobody can find anything when they need it.

Thinking outside the box for a minute, maybe a better question would be: Do we really need to produce this many documents?

Thus spoke The Programmer.