By encouraging, or even requiring, members of any team to write and record more we will be developing a few different skillsets.
- Reflection: The ability to understand and share what you have done and learned in the past.
- Understanding: The ability to deeply know the topic you are discussing.
- Quality: Creating solutions that you will want to share in the future.
Reflection is the first skill. Finding something that you have done recently in your career that you can be proud of and want to share is easy when you actually take a look, it is likely that you have done more than you realize. The problem is that we often do not stop to take a look because we have so much to do right now and are only looking forward. Without looking back and feeling proud we experience more burnout. Without looking back to be critical we can make the same mistakes we have always made. And without looking back at ourselves we cannot grow.
Understanding is important, by writing more we are forced to prove our understanding. Writing will force the author to move into a state where they can clearly explain what they are talking about. The author is moving to a point of being able to teach their topic. When a person gets to this point it is much more likely that the next time they come across this topic they will make stronger decisions that are founded on more deeply ingrained knowledge. Especially because the writing that you created serves as a record and as an extension to their brain. You and your team become more resilient in your knowledge base and will make better decisions together as it grows.
There are probably other skills that you develop through writing, though the last one I want to touch on is quality. If you are in an experience where you can see your team making mistakes, maybe even ones that have already happened, or you can see the team not performing at the level of which you know they are capable. It is your responsibility to continue to encourage quality. How does writing improve quality? It is more common to see a change in quality in the attitudes of an author after their first piece has been written. They want to make the next thing they work on good enough to write about. They will hopefully want to build something that they feel happy and proud to share with the world.
When these three things are true it can have a significant impact on your department and even the organization as a whole. If outsiders see engineers writing about how proud they are of what they get to create, it will draw in other engineers who want the same feeling and will more quickly exhibit these traits.
Though I am speaking of engineering it is not limited to that. Any department or field that you want to be perceived as an expert in you have to know intimately (Understanding), create amazing work and content (Quality), and be able to share it with the world so they know (Writing and Reflection).