Creating Effective Documentation
What does effective really mean, and how does it differentiate from classic documentation?
Google defines effective as “success in producing a desired or intended result”; that’s the only thing that really matters. I’m not interested in creating documentation that no one will ever see. I want to create documentation my staff can use, and I want to create documentation my clients can use. Brainlink International wants to help you create effective documentation that makes your life easy.
What tools do we use?
These are our four required tools:
- Confluence is our wiki. By itself it’s a good tool, but like any good tool it needs a couple more add-ons to be really effective…
- …which is where the doctool kit comes in. The documentation toolkit from doctoolkit.com is a phenomenal add-on. This allows you — if you’re using ConnectWise, Kaseya, or Tigerpaw — to take data out of your PSA and dump it into Confluence without all the work. Brainlink International has been using it now for over two years. I will not run my business without it and my team cannot function without it.
- The third tool is our SOP Culture toolkit, which we’ve built internally to combine the data from our PSA with our SOP’s to create training manuals, runbooks, and killer documentation.
- The last tool we use is Greenshot, a free tool for capturing screenshots.
Consider this example: you have a client, with six locations and 11 firewalls, but they should have 12. So, if you’ve got 11 records in your ConnectWise, you know how much work it will be to look at all that data; how much time are you or your staff wasting by clicking through to find a particular configuration?
Despite how effective ConnectWise is at putting all the data in one place, as a reporting tool, it needs a lot of work. This is where Confluence, the doctool, and the SOP Culture tool come into play. For the above situation, Brainlink International would generally use two macros out of the doctool kit. The first is a ConnectWise configuration macro (if you use Kaseya or Tigerpaw, you’d replace with the appropriate alternative). This macro gives me up to six columns of data to view at a glance. In this particular case, I want to know the configuration name, the external admin URL or IP address for each of the firewalls, and the admin account name. Then there are the notes; in this particular case, I want to know bandwidth capacity, license agreements, etc.
Another challenge Brainlink International has encountered stems from the fact that all our clients use VMWare. For example, a particular client has two Dell servers and in ConnectWise they’re listed as a “Managed Server,” and they have two storage arrays, which are stored in ConnectWise as “Storage-ISCSI.” Trying to explain these particulars to staff is the most frustrating part about ConnectWise. While it’s great that it has all the necessary data, it’s unfortunate that the data is organized by alphabetical or configuration type.
Our solution is to use two configuration ConnectWise table macros: One for the Managed Server, one for Storage-ISCSI; and two configuration page macros, one for the Managed Server, one for ISCSI. This gives you all the servers at a glance, all the ISCSI devices at a glance, all in one page that you can print out as a word file or PDF file. This is how we create effective documentation.
Want Access To SOP Culture?
We have more than 900 SOP’s in our library, over 400 of which are available for licensing to your business today.
Current pricing is available at http://www.sopculture.com/pricing/
There is a fee for one-time setup, which includes:
- Setup of your Confluence server (on your equipment or ours )
- Three years of run book plugins
- Three years of semi-annual upgrades to your library
- Access to future SOPs (SOPCulture rates increases every quarter)
- The means to build your own SOP culture!
- Discussing the foundation of SOPCulture with Sweet Process
- How & Why Your team should be creating Obvious SOPs
- Accelerating & Improving Employee Training Using SOPs
- An Influential blogger’s Take On SOPCulture
Want to create undeniably effective documentation in your business? Reach out to Brainlink International today at (347) 460-2238 or firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
Who Is Raj Goel?
- As a security professional, I’ve appeared on Fox, PBS, CNN, and at a number of security and vendor conferences.
- As an MSP, I was DATTO’s first keynote speaker in 2013 about compliance.
- I’ve spoken for Cyberoam, Continuum, MSPRadio, ITNation and more.
- I am a proud graduate of the Robin Robins School of Marketing.
- I’ve written two books:
- UNPLUGGED Luddite’s Guide To CyberSecurity.: What To Teach Your Kids & Grandparents Before They Access The Internet
- The Most Important Secrets To Getting Great Results from IT: Everything Your Computer Consultant Never Told You
About Brainlink International
Brainlink by itself, we were created in 1994. We’ve been profiled in numerous media. I am very, very, very passionate about SOP’s, SOT’s, Process, and most importantly Profitability. And we recently won the 2015 SmartCEO award for SOP Culture.
Your first step is to bookmark SOP Culture. This is where I publish, promote and announce webinars and other resources. A lot of things I’m writing about SOP’s and Process are going on SOP Culture, and brainlink.com, and Raj Goel, and LinkedIn, etc., so there’s no way you or your staff can say you don’t know how to find this information. We make it public, and we’re loud and proud about it.