Why you should STOP writing Salesforce documentation

Posted by Greg DeVore

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I saw this comment on a guest blog post that Jonathan wrote over at Button Click Admin:

I worked soooo hard on good roadmap directions, and people still just call me first to walk them through it. Maybe one day they’ll get sick of me saying, “Did you read the directions?” and stop calling. Maybe?

As a Salesforce Admin or Super User, you really don't have a lot of free time on your hands. If people in your organization aren't reading the documentation you are writing, then I would suggest that you stop writing it.

Yep, you heard me correctly---stop.

It takes too much time, requires too much effort and quite frankly, you probably have better things to do than create a PDF or Word file that is going to sit on your Sharepoint server, never to see the light of day.

If it doesn't matter don't do it

You might think it strange for the CEO of a company that makes Salesforce documentation tools to tell you that you shouldn't create documentation, but I have never been a fan of busy work. I hated doing extra math problems in high school and I hate doing work that doesn't make a difference in my organization just because it is something we are "supposed to do."

If I am going to spend time on something, I want it to matter.

Great documentation is not enough

Don't get me wrong, I know that creating great documentation can make a huge impact on how you implement and use Salesforce in your organization. But the act of creating the documentation is not enough. You have to put your documentation where your users need it and in a format that they will read and understand it.

If people use your documentation, then create a ton of it---great documentation that gets used will improve adoption, increase consistency and make your whole organization use Salesforce more efficiently.

But don't assume that just because you spent a lot of time and effort to write great documentation somebody is going to actually read it.

They won't. I wish they would. But they won't.

You have to go one step further. You have to get them to want to read it.

Take the next step with your documentation or stop writing it

There is a way you can do that without any sort of coercion or mandates from upper management. You just need to think about how you write documentation (and how you deliver documentation) a little bit differently.

I'll talk about that in my next post (How to get people to use your docs). But until then, if nobody is using your docs - stop writing them. You are just wasting your time.

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Topics: Software Documentation Tips