Ode to Documentation

One lesson that was drilled into me during my short stint as an engineer was to write proper documentation.

Help yourself by maintaining documentation because you, in the future, will be someone different than you, right now. The use of this function that is so obvious now, that series of scripts that you can run in your sleep, the emergency procedure that could be nothing else… you will forget, sooner or later.

And someone will have a question about that old program, or you’ll want to re-use that script, or you’re leaving the team and need to transfer everything to someone else… and you’ll have nothing but a faulty memory to go on. Damned to repeat the work again, using precious time and willpower to dig into the past. Not fun.

Develop the reflex to leave a paper trail for your future self, I was told again and again. It will pay off in spades, maybe not right away, but the time will come. Doing it for others will not be enough motivation to be consistent in the midst of our hectic days, so do it for your self. Your future self.