June 23, 2010
If I've said it once, I've said it, oh, 5 times now, Documentation Shall Set You Free. And I really mean it. But does it have the ability to free others? Of course!
My company has been doing well, and getting some large clients. That is great, but these large clients also place different requirements on us than the smaller ones that we used to deal with. For one thing, they ask questions. Lots of questions, actually.
In the past two months, I've probably completed 5 questionnaires of at least 50 questions each, all wanting to know about internal policies, procedures, security controls, etc. Basically, they want to know that we run a tight ship, and that we do things like think about disaster recovery, security, and so on. I can't say that I blame them for asking, but it's damned irritating to constantly answer the same questions again and again (sometimes repeatedly in the same document!). Plus, there are the occasional questions that just boggle your mind. "Do you use electronic systems?" And this was in an Excel spreadsheet!
Rather than just answer each question with an appropriate link to a blog entry I've written, my boss thought it would be good to proactively offer a document that covers the infrastructure's design, security, documentation status, etc, the thought being that it would answer most of their questions out of hand.
Since I like documenting things, I'm in favor of it, but I do have to wonder what kind of traction it's going to get with our clients.
"Answer these questions."
"Here's a document explaining everything."
"Great. Get those answers to us ASAP."
Anyway, do any of you have experience with client expectations like this? I'd love to hear about it. Thanks!