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I am currently applying for new jobs, so I'm planning my exit. And since I am the subject matter expert for an entire tech product, I've been doing my best to create as much documentation as I can to keep them running after I'm gone. But I am not going to tell them my plans because, well, I don't want management to get wind of it since I have not secured an offer yet. Some of my coworkers are great people and have helped me a lot, so I don't want to throw them under the bus.

Obviously, I will give two-weeks notice once I get an offer, and I imagine that will involve training (if they can find someone). But I mean before I even get to that point.

I've created all this documentation, shown it to people, given presentations on it, even suggested they help contribute to it when they have a great new idea. And not just in a passing conversation. I'll mark a comment in the document where they should add it and send it to them, holding their hand as much as possible.

However, no one uses it. Still, everyone comes to me for questions without even trying to use the docs. When I answer the question, I mention, "You can find more about this in the docs as well." And that polite suggestion does not work.

The problem is that this product team is horizontal, so we don't have the same manager. I can't just ask my manager to tell them to use the docs or something. I actually already did that for the one coworker in my same department, but he still didn't contribute (and he's the only one with certain knowledge on his area of the product).

Are there any other strategies I can use to convince people to use and contribute to these docs? Or is it just time to give up so that once I leave, they'll finally realize it's now their problem?

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    Does this answer your question? How can I prepare for getting hit by a bus?
    – gnat
    Mar 4 at 18:34
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    No, because I am specifically asking about how to communicate with my coworkers, not what I generally need to do to prepare. I already have prepared. People just aren't doing anything with what I've given them and I don't know what else to convince them they should use it while I'm still here to answer questions (without telling them I'm going to leave).
    – q-compute
    Mar 4 at 18:36
  • @FrustratedWithFormsDesigner True. Though I think the bigger issue in my case is that the people I've tried showing the docs to wouldn't be doing MY job if I left. They support other areas of the product. I'm just trying to build a culture in the product of everyone being on board so it can function better overall.
    – q-compute
    Mar 4 at 18:38
  • @q-compute Ok, but management & co-workers are aware of the docs, if they need them? If you took a day or two off sick, would they refer to the docs? Or just sit there helplessly waiting for your return? Mar 4 at 18:39
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    @q-compute Have you tried "I'd love to go in to details on answering your question, but I'm just too busy. The answer is in Something.docx on the shared drive. I can send you the link, but then I need to get back to work". Mar 4 at 19:05
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Are there any other strategies I can use to convince people to use and contribute to these docs? Or is it just time to give up so that once I leave, they'll finally realize it's now their problem?

Let it go.

While it is admirable that you would want to prepare your coworkers for your departure, this is not your responsibility. It is your manager's responsibility to ensure that the company can continue to function at an acceptable level if one of his employees ( you ) is no longer available.

The documentation work that you have already done will make the transition easier when you put in your two weeks notice but there is nothing you can or should do to force people to start getting involved in your work at the moment.

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