There are all sorts of documents that are needed for a consultant.  However, the ones that provide a form of CYA documentation may be the most vital.  This sort of communication is not only valuable in proving you did what you said, but it can also be a critical key to retracing your steps.

Why Bother With CYA Documentation?

A consultant is a temporary worker by definition.  With that in mind, why should we even bother with protecting ourselves via CYA documentation?  There is always the “avoiding a lawsuit” argument.  Nevertheless, it may be even more critical to protect our reputation or brand.  It is one thing to lose a client.  However, if that leads to you losing more clients or being passed over for projects, then it can be fatal.  Losing money on a project is survivable.  Losing credibility may require your business to end.

Problem Solving and Decision Making

This type of documentation is critical when things go wrong.  On the other hand, it is highly useful in reviewing decisions as well.  It may seem like there is no need to revisit a choice, but I have found that to be common.  This need for a review most often occurs when a team or members of a team change.  That is not the only reason though.  There have been occasions where a well thought out design was presented to upper management and decisions were questioned. We usually support our decisions in a presentation. However, what if something seemed unassailable because it was decided early in the process?  As we will see in future episodes as well, communication and documentation are crucial skills for a successful consultant.

Learn more in the book written for Develpreneurs at any stage in their progress:


Rob Broadhead

Rob is a founder of, and frequent contributor to, Develpreneur. This includes the Building Better Developers podcast. He is also a lifetime learner as a developer, designer, and manager of software solutions. Rob is the founder of RB Consulting and has managed to author a book about his family experiences and a few about becoming a better developer. In his free time, he stays busy raising five children (although they have grown into adults). When he has a chance to breathe, he is on the ice playing hockey to relax or working on his ballroom dance skills.

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