As a consultant, I hear buzz words constantly at my clients and in various business and professional circles. One of my biggest motivators in writing about documentation best practices is my fatigue from hearing so many buzz words over the years.

Organizational Effectiveness, Business Process Re-engineering, Organizational Alignment, Optimization, Transformation —there is a constant stream of new “words of the month.”

Often confused with “insider” terminology and jargon, buzz words are continually bombarding our business landscape tantalizing executives with the promise of new solutions to old problems.

Buzz words are, well, just buzz.

What I have learned from my years in consulting is that most buzz word projects are or should be just common sense. When you strip these projects down, they are essentially about:

  • Understanding what is out there
  • Documenting what is out there.
  • Thinking of ways to make it more efficient.
  • Designing and documenting a better way.
  • Implementing the recommendation.

And yet organizations continue to chase the latest and greatest buzz word with hopes that THIS new buzz word will be the silver bullet to solve their problems.

Honestly, I can say that in my experience the buzz word projects rarely succeed. My experience with large, high-budget projects full of glossy project plans, presentations and consultants running around have often been disasters. (Note for clarification – these aren’t projects that I have run).

In comparison, my experience with projects founded on an actual need and a clear vision are successful. I have built simple, practical documentation solutions and training for clients and find these low-cost, low-frills projects to be very successful.

My career advice for you is don’t allow yourself to be caught up in buzz words. Get a good handle on effective documentation practices that will sustain your career for much longer.

Many documentation projects are hidden under other sexier names. Information Management, Business Process Re-Engineering, Optimization, Process Efficiency, Change Management, etc. Documentation does not sound as “sexy” as the latest buzz words, but strong documentation skills will cut through every one of them. The inherent value of documentation does not fluctuate based on the latest trend. Learning documentation skills will allow you to transcend these trends.

Interestingly, you may find that your impressive documentation skills will both allow you to get on more buzz word projects and turn these projects around for the better.

Do you have a problem with buzz words in your organization? Contact me at adrienne@riskoversight.ca – Risk Oversight would love to help you “get back to basics” with effective documentation practices.