The Revolution Will Not Be Documented

In many ways, I wish I’d never learned how to write documentation. I wish they’d never covered the software development lifecycle at uni. I wish I’d never read The Elements Of Style by Strunk and White. I wish I’d never learned the basics of graphic design. Ignorance is bliss, as they say.

Instead, I am surrounded daily by sub-optimal processes, documents standards, templates and programs. Every company, save possibly one, has had the same problems. Millions of pages printed each year killing untold numbers of defenseless trees, and for what? The endless production of documents that are hard to read, poorly structured, factually dubious and ultimately pointless. The utter waste of money, both time and physical resources, is mind-boggling.

Now, I’m not saying I create perfect documents; far from it. I need a lot more practice at writing concisely and coherently, as you can tell from this site. My graphic design skills are rudimentary. Writing documents is not my full time career (thank the gods) and I’m not anywhere near as organised as I could be. Despite these many flaws, I am perpetually frustrated by what I see around me that calls itself documentation. Reports, designs, diagrams; they could definitely use improvement. I waste an inordinate amount of time trying to find documents others have written, more time attempting to understand them, and a fiendish amount of time in meetings discussing them. I fantasise about a job where the only documents I write are the minimum necessary and I get to spend the rest of my time actually achieving something.

And Microsoft Word will be first up against the wall when the revolution comes. Followed closely by PowerPoint.

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