Excellent! An important distinction that regrettably those who neither comment nor document will understand. Typically in a maintainers mode I read the available material to at least get an idea of what was desired, expected, thought? Then I strip it all out to concentrate on what the code actually does. I have never bought into the flippant idea that code is self documenting as some of our fellow folk would insist, it is however the code and when working with it nothing else matters.
I hope you don't think D. Knuth is a fool for thinking that you are wrong in your order of process. He would insist that you design first and then both code and document at the same time. ;) In a better world with <oxymoron>intelligent managers</oxymoron> literate programming would be required— perhaps even build into the language!
"Never try to teach a pig to sing...it wastes your time and it annoys the pig."