Stop with the Video Documentation

Creating a video for process documentation is easy. But it's not helpful (in the long term).

image Stop creating so much video documentation. There is a better way.

When I built and launched PlaybookWriter (which you should check out, by the way!), I kept seeing other products that "solved" process documentation by allowing users to record video, create screen recordings, etc. They "solved" the issue with process documentation! Just do the process yourself, and record yourself doing it, and boom, you've got your documentation. Just watch the video!

This is not the way.

Video documentation has some issues:

  1. You can't search it. Need to remember how to do some step in a process? Good luck fast forwarding.
  2. It's more time consuming. We don't need to see you move your mouse to click that button. Just tell us the important stuff.
  3. You can't make updates. Your video is outdated as soon as you record it. That tool you're interacting with? It could change -- completely or maybe just its layout and color scheme. That multi-step process? You may choose to introduce a new step in the middle. Regardless of the change (and whether it's within your control or not), you need to record a whole new video to accurately reflect how to do that process today.
  4. You need to be (almost) perfect. Most of us are not professional actors. We're human. You may even be an introvert. That video has to be polished (which means you need to be polished) for it to be the most impactful to its audience.
  5. It's not as shareable. You could share a link to the video, yes, but then you're dependent on the video platform you're using. You could plop the video file into an email, but that's probably a bit too large of an attachment. Videos are cumbersome to share and manage.

What's better than video?


Text or written documentation gives you so many benefits:

  1. You can search it. Literally just hit Control-F and search for whatever word you want. Or search across multiple pages or files of documentation at once! We all know how to search for a keyword within text.
  2. It's succinct. You can keep the documentation focused on the steps that are important and non-obvious. The filler just doesn't exist.
  3. You can make updates. Edit a word. Rearrange some sentences. Add a step in the middle. You can tweak it now or in the future -- forever!
  4. Speaking of making updates, all changes can be tracked! Again, you're editing that same original documentation, not creating a whole new document, so every alteration, along with who made the edit and when, can be recorded for a full audit trail of how the documentation has evolved over time.
  5. You don't have to be perfect. Again, you can make updates. Write the first half of the documentation, take a break, and then write the second half. There's no need to get that "perfect take" in one sitting.
  6. It's super shareable. Save the documentation as a Word doc. Paste it into an email. Put it in Confluence. Save as a PDF. It turns out that there are many file formats and pieces of software that support regular ol' text. That seems pretty convenient to me.

I say all of the above because... PlaybookWriter generates text documentation for you! Rather than record a video, just record some audio of you verbally (and imperfectly) describing the task, and PlaybookWriter will break down that description into a super clear and concise playbook (also known as process documentation).

(You can also provide a text description instead of audio. But remember: It's just a quick imperfect description. It does not need to be polished! That's what PlaybookWriter will do for you!)

And once you create a playbook, you can automatically receive feedback (via AI). This automated review (or "sanity check") will poke holes in your steps and highlight areas where you could mention a few more details. Just think -- before another human even reads the documentation, it's already been reviewed and improved!

Creating a video to document a process may check the box of, yes, I've documented this process. But it's not the best long-term solution. And the reason we create process documentation is so that this knowledge stays within the organization for months and years to come, as a reference for people that we may never even meet! So let's do it right!