Documentation is extremely important for a very simple reason: it acts as proof that something transpired. For instance, say you asked a colleague to complete a certain task that is essential to achieve your team goal. If the employee forgets to do the task, or simply chooses to omit it, you can get back to said employee or higher authorities by saying that you had indeed assigned the task. Without documentation, it would be impossible to prove that you had assigned the task. As a lawyer will put very succinctly, “If it’s not in writing, it didn’t happen.”
Substantiates workplace activities
Documentation of a process, and activity, or a guideline substantiates the activities undertaken in a workplace. It has various applications- in matters pertaining to the law, implementation of rules and regulations, and for audits and disputes. Documentation gives substance to a workplace’s activities not only for legal matters, audits or disputes, but also for rules and regulations. It is important that all activities, guidelines, and processes being undertaken in a workplace, since it makes it much easier for the workplace to run smoothly and efficiently. If anyone forgets a step in completing a process, you can go back to the documented version and refresh your memory.
Makes tasks easier
Documentation of a process is extremely beneficial when you are running an operation. And this can be any operation- be it running a workplace, running a prison, or even running a research. A scientist, for instance, has to undertake a whole bunch of different actions while running a research. Each of these steps is documented carefully, right from the inception of the research idea to the final steps, that is, the testing of the findings. This documentation helps in keeping record for posterity. If something in the findings goes wrong, the scientist can look up the records, analyze them, and determine what went wrong in the process. This would take an infinitely longer time had the entire process not been documented. Similarly, in a prison, if each inmate had not been recorded along with their sentences and nature of crime, running the system would become impossible, and one would never be able to keep track of the inmates.
Removes operational ambiguity
The maintenance of records can be a tiresome task, but it has endless benefits in the long run. One of the biggest advantages of the same is, of course, the fact that it does away with operational ambiguity. The best way of undertaking a task or running a system is to have a set process, so that it can become a self running process. And this is where documentation comes in handy. In case a dispute ever arises between the members of the team regarding the best practices for undertaking a task, one can always look at the documentation of the process to settle the issue. Such documents are invaluable resources to an organization since they help in minimizing the workload and settle disputes. They remain as proof that a certain methodology has been put into place for certain activities, and can be referred to at any time the need arises.
Maintenance of safety
Documentation is extremely important for maintaining safety and minimizing risk to life. Employees in an organization are taken through the fire drill and the procedures for making an emergency evacuation in case a fire breaks out or any kind of calamity strikes. If the process is documented and employees have access to the documentation, it becomes easier for everybody in case an emergency situation does arise. Such directions are also documented in public transport and put up in easily viewable regions, so that everyone aboard can make a safe exit should the need arise. Had the documentation not been there, it would be impossible to come out unharmed.
Important for marketing
Documentation is also extremely important in marketing. The marketing and sales departments of a company use documentation extensively to get a very good and insightful understanding of how the customers view their products and services, and what they are looking for. Surveys that are undertaken by companies of their potential market base are documented and categorized carefully, so that the research and analysis team can look at the data and determine what the customers are asking for, and how the organization currently lives up to their expectation and how they can improve.
Documentation is an extremely important, and downright indispensable, tool for improving business procedures. Documentation of processes and guidelines helps in maintaining the standard of the company policies. These documents can be used as evidence, as records for later perusal and reference, or simply to make the task of running a system much easier.