Crosspost: Why you’re closer to data documentation than you think

Writing is thinking; documenting is planning and executing. In this cross-post with Select Star, I write about how teams can produce high-quality and maintainble documentation by smartly structuring planning and development documentation and effeciently recycling them into long-term, user-friendly docs

Emily Riederer


January 5, 2024

Documentation can be a make-or-break for the success of a data initiative, but it’s too often considered an optional nice-to-have. I’m a big believer that writing is thinking. Similarly, documenting is planning, executing, and validating.

Previously, I’ve explored how we can create latent and lasting documentation of data products and how column names can be self documenting.

Recently, I had the opportunity to expand on these ideas in a cross-post with Select Star. I argue that teams can produce high-quality and maintainable documentation with low overhead with a form of “documentation-driven development”. That is, smartly structuring and re-using artifacts from the development process into long-term documentation. For example:

If you or your team works on data documentation, I’d love to hear what other patterns you’ve found to collect useful documentation assets during a data development process.