The Kind Of Exchanges That Are Worth Documenting

, , , , , | Working | April 27, 2018

(This happens when I am training a new computer programmer. I’ve asked him to make a very easy change to one of our simpler programs.)

Newbie: “Where’s the documentation for this program?”

Me: “Sorry, there isn’t any.”

Newbie: “What do you mean, ‘There isn’t any’?”

Me: “There just isn’t. Our documentation is a bit lacking in some areas, and because this is a really simple program, someone must have decided that documentation wasn’t necessary.”

Newbie: “But… how am I supposed to understand what the program does?”

Me: *pause* “I suggest reading the code. It’s really not that difficult, and I can answer any questions you might have.”

Newbie: “We should have documentation, though.”

Me: “Sure. And in a perfect world, we would. But we don’t.”

Newbie: *stands and stares at me*

Me: “Did you have anything else to ask me?”

Newbie: *doesn’t say anything, keeps staring*

Me: “I need to get back to work, so if you don’t have anything else—”

Newbie: “We should have documentation.”

Me: *losing patience* “YES. I KNOW. BUT WE DON’T.” *goes back to work*

(He wandered off, continuing to mutter about the lack of documentation. I’m not sure if he expected me to pull it out of my a**, or what.)

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