Documentation is like sex…

November 20, 2006 § 1 Comment

…when it is good, it is very, very good; and when it is bad, it is better than nothing.
– Dick Brandon

I believe the best way to measure the health of an organization—particularly one devoted to technology—is by how fast someone new can come up to speed with the who, how and why of institutional operations. It’s probably safe to say that, despite the efforts of both parties in the interview process, new members in an organization will not have too much institutional background or operational knowledge. I remember starting at UCLA in the Center for Health Sciences. The corny joke delivered to all new employees during orientation was, “you could run a marathon in the building” because there are over 26 miles of corridor. I couldn’t even find my way through the building to the PACS offices from the Oral Radiology Department , let alone determine the operations and procedures of, and between, the two departments, or the expectations for my role with each (which in the future of my employment actually became quite significant). Obviously this is a pretty common issue and everyone coming into a new role should expect a learning curve. So the specific question is, what resources are available to help those who are new to increase their learning rate? But the larger question is, how can these same materials measure the health of the organization as a whole?

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