We look at sell by date on the food we buy. The little date printed on the food we buy letting us know when not to buy this food. And we need to talk about the sell by date of technical content. I am talking about stuff like training materials, white papers, and presentations.
Now if you are wondering if everything has this sell by date they do. Even salt, a mineral we mine up and sprinkle on food has it. I am not going to get into it if salt should have a sell by date. But I want to talk about the content we put out. So, content written on how to do flow control in C# might have a long shelf life. This would be the salt of technical content.
But let’s talk about the milk of the content you write. As technology is changing most of the content, we put out will go stale and fast. As I wrote about Diego a few months ago today the content is sour, and Kubernetes is a little more relevant. But when milk sours, we can do other things with it. Don’t believe me, look up “sour milk bread”.
First with any content you put out, expect it to have a sell by date of three months from when you first use it. Sometimes you get more time out of it sometimes you get less. If you can’t refresh it, sunset it and do it fast. If you can update to refresh the content, take the time to identify where. When I put together training materiel I note where I expect things to change. This is for my own sanity. For content that I have done a refresh on. I denote it. Let others know that you did it. This inform the end user that you have taken the time to curate the content. Also, gets people to check and make sure this is the latest version you put out.