Working in IT isn’t always a case of uniform and by-the-book procedures. Anyone who supports end users knows that there’s a lot of on-the-job training and a lot of research that takes place on the fly both before and after they’re able to help someone.
However there is something that can be done to streamline the process of IT support, especially if that support is taking place within one business for an extended period of time.
The best way to establish a formula for your methods is to document the process of how problems present themselves and what solutions work best to solve them.
How is Documentation Kept?
While there are some standards, the manner in which you record a problem-solution event is largely your own. Whatever makes the most sense to you is fine; just make sure to incorporate the following elements:
• Initial Problem —
• Failed Solutions [If they occur] —
• Working Solution —
• Resources and References —
As long as your documentation contains these four components, the way you arrange and style it is pretty much up to you.
Make sure to highlight the main points, such as error messages, hyperlinks and core solutions, so that when you go to read it again, you can find the relevant information really quickly in case you’re dealing with the same problem.
When in the troubleshoot process should I start documenting?
You’ve got to decide whether you work better by cataloging everything as you go, or waiting until the process is over and then getting everything on paper.
If the problem you’re solving is time-sensitive, then it’s obviously better to save the documentation until after the event, which will give you more time to think about the overall process and highlight the key points. Documentation isn’t something that you want to rush through, especially if you hope to keep things reasonably well organized.
However if you’re the type of person that just works better taking notes on the fly, then you might have an easier time, jotting things down as you go and making sense of it later.
The call is totally yours to make.
Using Your Documentation in the Future
As you build up your catalog you’ll start to see repeats of the same problems that you’ve already documented. When that happens, instead of going through the trouble of trying to find that solution somewhere else, just consult that part of your documentation.
As it does build up, you’ll want to come up with a table of contents so that you can quickly find your solutions, whether you’re keeping them electronically, or on paper. Make sure that whatever mechanism you choose to use allows you to update and make changes as necessary.
Updating your Documentation
Technology is continuously changing, so it’s possible that some of your solutions could end up being outdated or contain end up containing misleading information. Once you find out for sure, you need to update your documentation to reflect those changes and differences.
This is where it might be more helpful to have an electronic copy of your data like a word document, which can be easily edited and changed on the fly. Once you’re done you can always print a paper copy to have on hand until you need to roll out another update.
Saving yourself Time and Energy
Every business’s IT solutions and situations are unique, and can’t always be helped by the resources online. It’s definitely beneficial to have documentation that is uniquely based off of the situation you’re in, as it will save you (and the person who might follow or work with you) a tremendous amount of time and energy.
If you put a little extra work in, your IT documentation in Asheville will eventually start to do a lot of the leg work for you. It might even save you from having to scour the internet every time something goes wrong.
Colin Thompson is a professional blogger that shares is knowledge of colocation, managed hosting and cloud computing. He writes for Colotraq, which offers the best data center infrastructure services.