To Document or Not To Document ~ That is the question

Recently, I approached a person in a business unit and asked if they had some standard documentation on one of their processes. The reply I received in general terms was, “No we do not have any standard documentation but we do continue to build on our processes”.

Knowing how I am, I began to read into it and I couldn’t get passed that statement. Then it dawned on me, of course everyone is different and we all have different mindsets. My DBA processes I feel must be documented, but others will not necessarily share that same view point – especially in other business units.

I’ve always heard that documenting is an age old battle; most people I know don’t like doing it but for me I do believe it is a necessity. I’m not the best at it but having standards in place within a team or solo act is beneficial for the next person that comes in. One of my old mentors several years ago told me if he walked out to lunch and something happened to him he would want me to be able to pick up a process even if I didn’t know it and look at his documentation and be comfortable in completing the task. Somewhere along the way that kind of stuck with me. Some of the standard documentation we have put in place for the DBA team that I’m on are:

  • Backup Procedures
  • Job Retention
  • Security
  • Maintenance
  • Server Installations
  • Code Promotions
  • Object Naming Conventions
  • Job Notifications

The list could go on but those are some high level ones that I just threw out there. Documentation made it on SQL Server Pedia’s “10 Things Every DBA Should Do” – the article came from John Sansom who really has a great blog; I suggest you check him out.

One of the things I like to do when starting new employment is to look at their documentation; some cases it doesn’t really exist. I like to take that and use it to gain knowledge of the systems and what they do. Documentation……”To Document or Not To Document ~ That is the question” To me it is a no brainer.

Drop me a line and let me know what your thoughts are if you think documentation is important or not important and some standards that you may have in place.

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