Good documentation doesn't just happen and it definitely isn't organic. It takes thought and discipline to make it work for you. It is the part of doing business that makes most people groan and curl up into a fetal position under their desk, and yet, that same documentation is the life-blood of business. It is your intellectual property. It is your ability to grow and profit from past successes (and mistakes). It is your cumulative history. Your story. Documentation is everywhere and woven into everything we do. So why not protect it?
With just about everything being created and managed in an electronic environment it's easy to disconnect from the tangible reality of filing cabinets full of paper. Admittedly, I have an affection for paper. I still prefer a bound book to an e-reader, and there is just something about cracking a new box of photocopy paper that says productivity to me. I am a process junky by nature and managing documentation scratches my itch to organize and beautify how documents are managed. Yes, you heard that correctly. Beautify. What's not beautiful about a professionally presented, organized, reliable, retrievable, accurate and true record? Perfection.
For some businesses, like pharmaceutical companies, managing documents isn't just good practice, it's a must. It's process driven capture of the evidence that lends products their integrity in the eyes of regulators. Without it, how do you prove that what you are selling is safe? How do you prove it is effective?
The same can be said for many industries. Would you want to buy a product if every time you bought it, it came in a different package, or quantity or flavour? That might be fun once or twice, but when it comes down to it, documentation in the form of procedures, specification or guidelines creates the consistency and predictability of outcomes we expect. The evidence generated by using those documents creates integrity, and the history to fall back on should something go wrong.
Consider how valuable that is to the life of your business. It might be time to give those documents a bit more credit for your success, and some much needed attention.