Documentation is an art. And it can be mastered with considerable practice and training. These are the five common mistakes that people make when it comes to documenting and later end up in trouble:

1. Avoiding documentation

Leaders become complacent in the workplace and do not back up their verbal instructions with effective documental evidence such as an email or fax. This later turns out to be the point of contention when the other person ends up not doing the intended task.

Tip: Always support your instructions or verbal communication with written follow-up.

2. Adding Emotions to your documentation

While making a report or giving a review on an event, colleague or a subordinate, it is common to get carried away by an emotional perspective towards them. This results in an “emotionally biased” document that affects the developer’s credibility and efficacy.

Tip: Stay aloof from emotions during documentation. Maintain an even tone with factual and direct word choice.

3. Unbalanced approach

In reports where critical analysis is required from the writer, people end up explaining one perspective without mentioning the opposing narrative. As such the document fails to fulfill its purpose of drawing a comparison between two approaches.

Tip: Where demanded, critically analyze ideas, events, theories etc.

4. Focusing on Intent Rather than Facts

Another common mistake employees make is to word the “intent” of a subordinate rather than their “action. As a result, the documentation appears frivolous, focusing more on the non-tangible facts than the tangible ones.

Tip: Focus on actions, not intentions.

5. Disregarding Hierarchy

Last but by no means least; disregard of the hierarchy is one major issue in the documentation made at the workplace. By-passing your immediate manager or not keeping them in the loop of communication can create serious problems for the projects and yourself.

Tip: Respect the hierarchy. Keep close to your manager.

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