Sometimes we spend more effort on presentation than on content, even when the real value is in the content, not in the presentation.

Some examples:

  • Why spend time creating a PowerPoint slide deck for an informal discussion? Why not scribble notes on a page, scan the page to PDF, then annotate the hand-written PDF notes during the meeting?
  • Why spend time transcribing a white board to a computer when a digital photo of the white board captures the arcs, arrows, angles, and phrases on the board, without wasting the effort to form those into a digital document?
  • Why enter requirements into a computer system when the team is local? Use scraps of paper (3×5 cards work for me) and move them around on a table to prioritize and understand them
  • Why not perform bug triage by rapidly moving pieces of paper around on a table instead of forcing everyone in the room to focus their attention on a screen where one and only one person can make progress?
  • Why not have a face to face discussion or a phone call instead of composing an e-mail message?
  • Why not talk about an issue instead of spending time to document it?

I listened to a programmer this morning noting that he was unable to find documentation on something. The thought that kept rolling around in my head while he said that was, “what you need documented does not exist, and the waste of creating documentation for all the things in order to not be missing that one thing was just not worth it”.