The Aftermath of Not Documenting Your Instance

Not applicable

I'm spending a few hours this morning updating a playbook for one of my clients (you know who you are!) and it reminded me of this situation I encountered recently with another client.

This client is a division of a very large enterprise, which uses Marketo in many of their divisions. This particular division had a fairly saavy Marketo user, but he got promoted to a different role and no longer works in that division. The new individual brought in had no previous Marketo experience and no understanding of how or why their system was set up a certain way. Unfortunately, nothing is documented. We're now going in to help her understand what's been done in the system and make improvements, but as you can imagine, that's going to end up being more costly than having spent the time and effort in documenting up front. It's not that easy to decipher why someone else did something and even if some of the people are still around, your memory may not be as sharp as it was when you first set it up.

We see this story all of the time, and it's even worse in our SMB group, where Marketo knowledge often lives with just one single person in an organization. If that person leaves, it can be very hard for a new hire to figure out how things are working. So if you are that one single person in your organization, do everyone a favor and spend a few hours a week for the next few weeks and start documenting the way you set things up. You may be asking, well, why do I care what happens after I leave? I think of this as one of those "pay it forward" kind of things. If you do it, you're helping out other people in the Nation and perhaps when you go into your new role, you will discover that your predecessor has done the same for you. But it's not only useful in case you leave, but also in case you are so successful that you get to bring on a new hire and you need to get them up to speed on your instance. Foundation training is great but it will never be able to explain everything about how to use your specific instance.

If by this point you are convinced, here's some things to consider adding into your playbook:

  • Admin setup (workspaces, partitions, channels and tags, user roles, technical setup)
  • Governance (naming and foldering, data management, subscription management)
  • Program and asset templates and creation process
  • Lead lifecycle and routing
  • Program setup requirements
  • Ongoing nurtures or other programs
  • Testing and reporting
  • Integrations
  • Resources
  • Internal processes, such as those for changes or support
Level 2

THANK YOU Kristen, your timing is eerie as your bullet list above almost perfectly outlines exactly what my colleague and I were just discussing on Wednesday, using the whole "if we got hit by a bus, no one would know what to do with our Marketo!" scenario. The plan was to start documenting everything (wishing we had done it when we actually started our implementation!) and I was just contemplating what to include and how to organize it all so this really helps. And of course if you have any templates/samples to share, that would be even more awesome!


Not applicable

Awesome, glad to hear you are starting work on some documentation

Not applicable

So true, Kristen Carmean I just had this conversation with one of my clients, especially since they use pretty complex programs. Better safe than sorry!

Level 4

I definitely agree that documentation is a MUST.  Sometimes I have a hard time determining what NEEDS to be documented and what's gibberish to others. Do you have any outlines of what should be included in something like this?

Level 4

...further outlines that what you mentioned above...

Level 10 - Champion Alumni

This is one of the reasons I created this idea: