Feed on

You’re familiar with the usual media for documentation – hard copy, softcopy – on CD, on the server. And it’s a pile of documents, a lot of words, some diagrams and tables. You read the words, highlight what’s important as you go along, make some notes, and you try to understand the material. Thought – wouldn’t it be great if you had a little more insight from the person who actually created the document?

We have the technology to do so and it’s cheap and easy. Consider creating a video. Look at Youtube. If you want to learn how to play bar codes on a guitar, or play blues on a harmonica, you could get a book and try to learn how. Or you could logon to Youtube and watch somebody show you how. You get more out of video as a source of information because it makes greater use of senses – sight AND sound – to communicate. Checkout the numerous webinars on Youtube – the value start to become obvious.

If you’ve made a video on your laptop, then you have the tools and the skills. A better camera will provide better quality video. Consider a pin-on microphone to ensure a good audio recording. Warning – you may discover your don’t have a career as a newscaster. Try adding vocal variety. Put on a happy face.

On a contract assignment, I found video documentation to be a lifesaver (for my customer), when the project handover meeting was cancelled, with no opportunity to reschedule. The company was small and growing. At some point in the near future, I was confident all that material¬† would be handed over to somebody and told ‘you own this now – run with it’. Challenge – ‘somebody’ wasn’t at the Handover meeting, and no guarantee I would be brought back to explain it. So I did the next best thing – created a video of what I would have said at the Handover Meeting.

A few test runs established the proper lighting, camera angles and audio levels. Following a high level script for the video, each document (clearly labelled) was shown to the camera, explained why it produced, what it contained, how to use it, and why they might want to use it. Result – my customers had a video of what they would have heard at the handover meeting. And for anyone who needs to use the documentation in the future, my smiling face is there in perpetuity to help them along.

What else might you want to video for playback at future dates? Perhaps the development of those complex formulae behind the business rules, that would make for so much dry reading in hard copy. Maybe the kickoff presentation for your project, which would be useful for new members joining the team.

There are no boundaries – your imagination is the limit. And who knows – you may discover you could have a career as a newscaster.

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