Cranky Series: Document. Document. Document.

4

August 23, 2012 by Mike Hillwig

I used to hate writing documentation. Now I see it as a necessary evil of my job. But I also see it as a way of keeping my Blackberry quiet in the middle of the night.

Similar to manual processes, if I have to answer a question more than twice, I’m going to document it. It allows me to give people what they need, using time more efficiently because they can read it at a time that works for just themselves, instead of waiting until we’re both available. It’s also a means of giving my staff on the other side of the planet something to reference instead of calling me.

A few weeks ago, we had a situation where one of our Oracle DBAs decided he was going to build a SQL Server. Because I’m deploying servers rather frequently, I have the process down to a science. I know exactly what to request from my storage team and exactly how to phrase things with my Windows team so that the server comes to me ready to go. There are typically no questions and the process works like a well-oiled machine.

This guy didn’t do that. The process was an absolute mess. And I realized that this was my own fault. Yes, I had the process documented but it wasn’t published.  If the standard isn’t published, how can people be expected to follow it?

Because it caused such an issue, I ended up having a meeting with all of the players involved, and we’ve actually put together formal standards for our SQL Server builds, including having a small inventory of servers ready to be used for new database instances as needed. All we need to do is provision the storage and install the instance.

But now, everything is documented. And the first item on our build standards documentation is that every new instance needs to be reviewed with the DBA Manager (my boss) prior to submitting requests for anything. That means we’re not caught off guard. And that makes me a little less cranky.

4 thoughts on “Cranky Series: Document. Document. Document.

  1. Bryan says:

    Oh Patty you are living my life from the past deacde. The days where I could be driving for up to four hours a day through city traffic to get to soccer practises and games, and aerobics training and comps. It feels like it will go on for ever, then all of a sudden, life changes, the kids are doing different things, and whats more they are driving themselves!Anyhow, I had actually decided that this week was the one to start being more healthy in my actions rather than keeping my head in the sand in regards to my cholesterol etc so many of your points are already being put into action. Good to have confirmation though!Love your pics too

  2. That kind of thinking shows you’re an expert

  3. 137 Posted by 73 on 16September 08, 2012 at 1b2:25 pm 40 3e2Thanks for your kind words P.J.Oh…my very first MP3 lol! I can’t believe what I was missing all this time. I just have this thing about sticking things in my ears. Now I’m addicted he he. I was just at the gym WALKING on the treadmill listening to symphonies. All around me were younger people running like the wind with their ear phones in. It was a funny site when I looked at the mirror ha ha haThanks for visiting,DonnaDonna Merrill recently posted..

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