Sunday, August 3, 2008

Where is that procedure?

Last week after the power outage at the medical facility where I was doing a project I noticed that one phrase came back often "Where is that procedure?".

Apparently there were 2 problems, all procedures were word documents saved on a file server but the network was down and after the network was back it seemed quite a struggle to find the correct procedure.

In a previous job I organized a 24/7 IT-standby team to give support. I started out just like this customer but realized quite fast that managing a document library wasn't going to do the trick. I tried to identify what I wanted and what the problems were with the document library.

I wanted a system that was easy to maintain and where everybody of the IT team (15 people) could add the necessary info since gathering the information was dull and usually was the information nearly outdated when a document was "ready". One of the conserns was of course that the system should be accessible only to the IT department and that even when the network and servers in the server room failed the data was accessible.

The solution was simple, I took 1 ordinary desktop and putted a wamp server on it with a mediawiki. The wiki access was restricted and if the system went down, you just had to go and sit at that particular computer.

It was not the best system and it would probably have been better to use a wiki on a stick of a xampp since these can be used on a USB dongle but I wasn't aware of those solutions at the time.

The point is, that people should give thought to the documentation and not just ask documentation for the sake of have a document. Another thing is test that documentation because you can have a procedure and a company who does it for you but in the end you are responsable for your systems.

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