Documenting why and how we do something as a church or as a church tech team is important. It helps us keep important details safe, and accessible to others we work with. It is a way to safeguard that the Church’s mission is not compromised by our absence. You can read about the importance of documenting in this first published post in the series. We need to look into some of the things that get in the way of documenting. This makes a post on debunking the myths of documenting appropriately.
For The ‘Experts’ / Someone Else
When it comes to documenting, “That is what they do…” is one of the worst justifications I’ve heard. For many reasons, some churches and church tech teams don’t see it as something they should and can do. This is partly due to the myth that documenting is something that experts or super skilled people do.
Keeping record of why and how you do something is for everyone whose work affects others.
Documenting isn’t difficult. Think about documenting as retracing your steps out loud. It is a simple act of telling somehow what you did and how to do it when it’s their turn. Many church tech teams struggle because someone never took the time to say how they do what they do.
Tomes and Tomes and Tomes…
That your documentation must be long and (elaborate for no reason) is another myth. Good documentation isn’t synonymous with copious notes. Sometimes sequential bullet points will suffice. It isn’t the length or copiousness that makes your documentation great. It’s the extent of its helpfulness.
Aint Nobody Got Time For That
Connect this to the previous myth. Debunking myths of documenting would be incomplete without addressing the time it takes. The truth is it can take some time to capture a process, recording settings etc. I must say that it is not always a lot of time. In any case, we make time for the important things, right?
The times it takes to document can be way less compared to the time lost when things go awry.
Perfect / Good Enough
This deserves its own post but it’s important to look at for a second here. Many teams never get around to doing something because they want space and time to do it well. While we eschew indifference and value excellence, we must also embrace the good enough. Of course, it’s not “either or”, but if I’d always choose imperfect documentation than none at all.
Rather have flawed documentation you work at perfecting from time to time, than none at all.
Don’t avoid creating a simple manual because you’re afraid it won’t be perfect. Never let the possible perfect get in the way of the good enough. Also, ‘simple’ can be effective. In fact, it is better. Sometimes simple can be a series of screenshots in sequence. More on this later.
Documenting isn’t an impossible, time-consuming and complicated thing. If we see the mission of the church as important, it isn’t too much to ask to make sure nothing got in the way. We make time for the important things, right?