Document Your Work

We have an oral process on my project that you must document your progress on trouble tickets in our bug tracking system. Recently a lot of the development staff have not been following the rule. This causes a lot of overhead, especially for members of the Help Desk. It is a pain to have to document your every step in a defect tracking system. When you are on the hunt for the source of a problem, you want to keep focused on the problem at hand. Documenting progress may slow you down and cause you to lose your focus.

There are some benefits to documenting your progress. It prevents other people from having to call you up or e-mail you to find your status. This prevention has a rippling effect. If the customers can view your progress, they do not have to talk to people who will only talk to other people to get to the answer. Sometimes just the evidence that somebody is making updates helps calm a customer that is encountering a lot of problems.

I work on a lot of trouble tickets. And I like the work. Personally I make sure I log my progress in frequent intervals. I make sure I write my findings for a broad audience. However I also add enough detail so that at any point, another developer can come in, read my comments, and continue the research. This has made redistribution of work very easy for the people I work for and with.

Another incentive for writing down your progress in the defect tracking system is that it can lead to less meetings. That means less meetings amongst developers. It also means less meetings with the customer. When somebody is not confident that progress is being made on trouble tickets, meetings are called to order. This is a vicious cycle. The meetings take up time and prevent you from actually fixing the bugs. Or they make you stay late when there are no meetings to find out what the problems are.

Right now our help desk has to attend trouble ticket meetings. The help desk personnel are trying to rally developers to enter their updates in the bug tracking system. I think I will join them and spread the word. Document your work already. You will only be helping yourself.