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Project documentation is the step most often neglected in IT initiatives. Providing well organized and useful documentation is a source of pride for us. Indeed, one of the best complements we've received recently concerns a customer from 20 years ago recalling the depth and usefulness of documentation we provided on his projects.

Documentation is for us – a business continuity and trust issue with our customers. We feel it is our obligation to document systems in such a way that any knowledgeable IT person can understand what we've done and extend our work when needed. In a time of crisis -- those detailed reference documents are invaluable.

Sometimes this commitment to documentation and knowledge-transfer comes back to "bite" us. For instance when customers decide to assume various responsibilities for tasks we originally did and documented for them. It's natural to ask when this happens: "Have we excessively enabled our customer by our documentation? Did we shoot ourselves in the foot and will now lose out on that revenue?"

From our viewpoint -- Customers pay us to enable them to leverage technology. It would be unethical for us to somehow hold them hostage for technology we helped them deploy.

We believe that as long as our emphasis remains on delivering value and enabling their success, our customers won't abuse the relationship and will do their part to help us succeed in our business.

Training Variations

Typical documents we create include: installation and recovery guides, data documentation, system use, and embedded program logic explanations. We use Atlassian Confluence, Enterprise Architect, Redgate SQL Doc, and Microsoft Word for these purposes. Sublime Text, markdown syntax and XMind play roles as well.

All projects are managed with GIT and Redgate SQL Source. Repository access is shared via BitBucket if desired by the customer.

All account password and credentials are managed using the open-source utility called "KeePass" with copies of this encrypted file periodically shared with the customer.

Video tutorials are a terrific way of communicating about the use of a delivered system. They complement written documentation and -- when compared to live training -- offer a more durable record of how something operates. We use a product called Camtasia which makes the authoring process simple.
We conduct these somewhat informally for customers who are interested in training multiple staff in the use of Microsoft technologies or of specific technology our company has written.
We are a Microsoft Partner able to advise you on legal and licensing costs for Microsoft products including SQL Server.

Provided at right are scenarios and tools that further explain the education tasks. Let us know if we can help you with a similar task.

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