Users don’t want documentation, they want answers

One of the most monotonous yet necessary processes in Information Technology is documenting changes.  Changes account for a high rate of the fire-fighting done by technical support and being able to identify when the issue started and when changes were made give a lot of insight when beginning to solve the problem at hand.

I have tried many methods of documentation from the Microsoft Office suite, to text files, to ticketing systems.

So what is documentation good for? Understanding tasks, overcoming problems, making decisions, performing tasks more efficiently.

For me documentation is all about finding answers to questions, and what comes immediately to mind is Google. Ever since Google hit the world stage, it has become the defacto tool in solving problems. Have an error code, copy, paste and hit the “Google Search” button.

So what does this tell you? Documentation has to be “searchable” and “mobile”. A hierarchical folder structure of documents with different filetypes (which is what I’ve been doing for a long time) doesn’t cut it, as it has too many handicaps (minimal search capability, not mobile, cumbersome versioning, various applications required, etc.)

Enter the Wiki… defined by Wikepedia as: A wiki is a collection of web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language.

No need to re-invent the wheel…. need an answer? Google it! and found the answer on an article from the guys over at Lifehacker on setting up a personal wiki using MediaWiki.

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