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The Benefits of Project Documentation

Project documentation??

“Hmmm…I would prefer to use that time meaningfully by doing some other project activities.”

“Let’s do it after completing all project activities, not right now.”“I am focused on delivering the project. This is a low priority.”

“I can complete one more project if I don’t do documentation.”

Sounds familiar?  You may have heard any or all the above excuses and complaints from many of project managers, including yourself.  These are common statements used by project managers who don’t want to do a thorough job – which means doing project documentation.  If you uttered any of these, then it’s time to raise a Change Request to change your perception about project documentation.

Project documentation is one of the less interesting areas for project managers as it requires numerous efforts but is rarely applauded by the boss. Actually, however, project documentation is a key component of project management and carries through from the start to finish of all projects.

Let’s look into some key points related to project documentation.

Why documentation?

Project documentation is required for successful project completion. Product documentation is used to:

  • Define the project scope and ensure agreement by all project stakeholders and project team members. Thus everybody involved in the project shares the same expectations on what to expect, what to do, when to do it, etc.
  • Reference toward the resolution of disputes between various stakeholders should such situations arise.
  • As historical reference which provides detailed information about the project and can be used to ensure the success of future projects.

Benefits of doing project documentation

Apart from the above reasons, project documentation offers additional valuable benefits to project managers, including:

  • Helping to create very detailed Work Breakdown Structures which result in drafting realistic, achievable schedules.
  • Reduction in unnecessary surprises and risks.
  • Helping to predict the project’s progress during execution and take pro-active measures to tackle challenges.
  • Providing a clear understanding of the project requirements to all the stakeholders.

And…your boss will see you, the project manager, as detail oriented and thorough in your work which increases your value to the organization and makes you a desired project manager on all major projects.

Bottom line – change your perception about doing project documentation and start focusing more on this area.  You will start seeing the benefits in no time at all and you will increase the likelihood of project success with less stress on yourself and the project team.

Copyright © 2010 Dhanasekaran Sivaraj