How remote work can improve documentation

May 16, 2021
Documenation is one of the most trivial ways to increase team cohesion.

As the pandemic appears to be winding down, there’s a lot of talk about the merits going back to the office versus staying remote, versus a hybrid approach.

One aspect of remote work in particular I think is especially valuable, and very easily lost on colocated teams.

Remote teams are better at documentation

When we share an office, so many of our meetings and conversations are fleeting. We meet to discuss some minutiae of the day, then walk away implement something, then forget the conversation ever took place.

On a remote team this can happen, but far more often, even by accident, we leave the meeting with some permanent artifacts. It might be a Google doc. It might be a Slack or email thread. Even if the decision is made over a video call, keeping a record is usually as simple as hitting a ‘Record’ button.

So what?

Documenation is one of the most trivial ways to increase team cohesion. The simple act of documenting decisions can reduce bike-shedding and time wasted re-making (or needlessly changing) trivial decisions.

I talk more about documentation (and other aspects of how we communicate) in the video Better WFH: Making remote work more effective.

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