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Move Fast and Document Things: Writing internal docs at fast-moving organizations


Ruthie BenDor Your new engineer started on Tuesday; your internal docs should ramp them up. Your founding engineer's last day was yesterday; your internal docs keep their projects from falling through the cracks. Tomorrow you'll switch to a project that's already in progress; internal docs should help you catch up. Too bad your internal docs are haphazard, out of date, and mostly nonexistent. Welcome to startup life, where speed is prized above almost all. At startups and other fast-moving organizations, the imperative to ship provides a convenient excuse to skip writing the But should we accept this as the cost of moving fast? Or can we reframe how we communicate the value of documentation so that the message resonates in startupland? Can we adapt how we practice the art of documentation so that it happens even when nobody has time? I'd like to share my successes, failures, and hard-won lessons as an engineering lead and manager who has pushed to bring writing documentation into the internal culture and practices of a startup's engineering organization.


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