Searching for Answers Inside

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 715809

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item Searching for Answers Inside

  • David.Poole

    SSC Guru

    Points: 75191

    Librarianship and information mapping are two disciplines that are massively underrated.  Without them you are left trying to sort the wheat from the chaff.  That can be difficult whether you are a new starter or a long term employee.

    It is very easy to end up thousands of documents in something like Confluence but it stops being people's first point of call because

    • It is so hard to find the document that is relevant.
    • It is hard to find out if the document is out of date, current or a to-be
    • Even if the page is relevant and current it is hard to pick out the relevant information on the page.

    Then there are the plethora of places where a document can be. Email, GitHub, Sharepoint, MS Teams, File shares.  If there must be multiple places where a document could be some form of indexing and cross referencing system become incredibly important.

  • roger.plowman

    SSChampion

    Points: 10147

    Speaking as a lone wolf, (developer, dba, etc.) there's the likelihood that if I'm hit by the proverbial bus every bit of the IT "staff" knowledge goes instantly *poof*.

    Therefore it is essential (from a professional, disaster-recovery, and moral) standpoint that my sudden departure from this mortal coil not leave the company high and dry. Many small IT departments manage with one or possibly two IT staff, so the danger is a lot wider-spread than people think.

    To give my cold-turkey successor a fighting chance I've done everything in my power to leave copious organized documentation "just in case". There's a wiki for developers, covering every aspect that I can think of. What tools are used, what settings were changed, naming conventions, coding style, the logic behind the module breakdown in the application front ends and database back ends, theory on things like how the security works, and on and on.

    The code itself is extremely comment heavy--70% comments to code by line count, with reasons why the code is the way it is, any gotchas, and not just "add 1 to I" type comments. 🙂 Another thing, I religiously keep comments in sync with the code, and try to review code before I change it, just to make sure it's understandable two years after writing it.

    Steve's offhand comment about not being sure it's worth allowing someone to pick up if no staff is around should be a red flag. What happens if the IT staff was on a weekend retreat and there's an avalanche that wipes out the resort?

    Unlikely, yes. But it's the disasters you don't plan for that wipe you out...

     

     

     

     

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 715809

    David.Poole wrote:

    It is very easy to end up thousands of documents in something like Confluence but it stops being people's first point of call because  ...

    Then there are the plethora of places where a document can be. Email, GitHub, Sharepoint, MS Teams, File shares.  If there must be multiple places where a document could be some form of indexing and cross referencing system become incredibly important.

    Certainly a problem for me at Redgate. I can get to repos and find code, and we have lots of Confluence stuff, but increasingly as we grow I struggle to deal with documents which might be in Slack, Google Docs, Confluence, or 0365/Sharepoint.

  • Rod at work

    SSC-Dedicated

    Points: 33137

    Until I came to this job, all my other IT jobs were for small companies. Or at least small IT shops. So knowing where to find something was easy. In my current job, with 200+ IT people, I've discovered that there's no repository of any sort on systems, what people know, etc. But since this is my first pass through a large IT organization I'd just come to think of this huge lack of knowing what goes on where and how to do something was normal for large IT organizations. Believe me, Steve, it comes as a huge shock that large organizations at high and elite performers actually have a much better handle on this!

    WOW, who knew!!

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

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