A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words, But No Mechanic Worth His Salt Works On A New Car Without Reading The Workshop Manual

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(Ditch Water Would Be More Interesting)

Documentation is the dullest dull of all the dull subjects. In fact if you think of the dullest thing you can, and then think of something twice as dull again it wouldn't be as dull as documentation......

            ........unless you're the person that needs to use it. Suddenly your priorities change and it becomes pretty interesting, or if you're really unlucky critical!

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  Different Styles
(More Than The Printed Word)

Documentation has come a long way since Caxton's printing press hit the headlines (or strictly speaking, would have hit the headlines if they had existed before he invented his press!).

The advent of electronic documents, dynamic updates, hyper-links, searches, intranet and internet web based access, as well as the exciting options of including video and audio instructions has taken the possibilities for documentation into a whole new realm.

That's not to say that there is not still a place for the printed word. When you want to take something home to read up about a subject before making a presentation in the morning, it's hard to sit on the armchair in front of the fire with a mug of tea and then bury your head in a laptop with a telephone extension cable running out to the hall so that you can access the internet!

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  Subject Matters
(Content Is Key)

Anyone in their right mind (hopefully that includes you) would agree that whatever the format, layout, and style of a document, it is the content that really matters. It's no use having the world's greatest hyper linked index if it just takes you to a page saying "This is a bit tricky - to be completed later" (believe me it happens - I've seen it).

It is also true though that a document may contain the world's knowledge between its covers, but if you can't find the page you need it might as well be a firelighter. The true strength of top class documentation is that people can use it as a reference. That means finding the bits you need when you need them, and then being able to understand them when you get there.

We understand documentation, and appreciate very much that the readers need to understand it. We are able to work within your organisation, and where appropriate plagiarise the wealth of information that is probably already around - back's of fag packets, emails, text files on someone's PC, it's amazing where you find this stuff. More often than not the individuals with the information would love to a have a formal place to store it, but in the meantime "just did something" to help out while they were on a holiday/sick/training day or wherever.

We can also call upon our business analysis experience to research your operation's processes and get them documented when there isn't anything around.

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  Formats and Standards
(You've Been Framed)

OK, we've now got all the content sorted between us. The next thing is some sort of framework to paste it into. Some sort of standard layout can save so much time when you need to write new documents in future.

There's more to it than that though. Once people get used to the way your documentation is laid out, and how to go about finding the sections they need, it suddenly becomes much more useable, and therefore much more used. On top of that when there is a change to stock control procedures in the warehouse someone has a much better idea where to make this information available. You never know, give it time and you might even find your systems actually start working for you once people can find out the information they need.

More often than not these standard formats and layouts are created by working with you during the course of preparing specific documents. For larger organisations that are continually managing change we can work to produce a sample set of documents to be used as a base.

Typical examples of these sets would be:-

  • Project Life Cycles
  • Sourcing New Suppliers
  • Creating A Marketing Campaign
  • The Sales Cycle

As with most things there is a list of topics as long as your arm. The common factor is that a useable set of standard documents, coupled with an intelligent set of checklists and a good inspection methodology, makes the likelihood of any project success much higher than without.

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Come and speak to us, or even better buy us lunch, and see if you think we can help out, or at least get you on the approach lane of the information superhighway!

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**New for 2006**
*New for 2006*
Red House Services
The Red House
13 Post Street
PE29 2BA
tel: 01480 392598
fax. 0707 502 4331