The 7 Deadly Sins of Documentation

Wednesday, 29 August, 2018 - 14:0014:50

Chastity Blackwell, Yelp


Documentation can often be forgotten when it comes to the pillars of SRE practice; developing tools and new infrastructure has supremacy, and a constant sense of urgency leads to documentation being a "we'll get around to it later" task. Even in places where documentation is actually written, it's often done quickly or poorly in the first place, not maintained, or not organized in a way that makes it easy to use. This can impair onboarding, obfuscate problems, and impair incident response. But if done correctly, documentation can preserve institutional knowledge, streamline incident response, and allow new team members to quickly begin contributing. This talk will discuss the biggest problems surrounding creating, maintaining, and providing utility with documentation, and how to solve them.

Chastity Blackwell, Yelp

Chastity Blackwell has worked in Operations for almost 20 years in a variety of environments, from the hallowed halls of the University of Illinois to a smaller startup, and now works for Yelp as an SRE. In addition, she has done work as a freelance writer and content developer for CCP, the developers of Eve Online.

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@inproceedings {218875,
author = {Chastity Blackwell},
title = {The 7 Deadly Sins of Documentation},
booktitle = {SREcon18 Europe/Middle East/Africa (SREcon18 Europe)},
year = {2018},
address = {Dusseldorf},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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