Four More Techniques to Manage Documents on Your Project

Sunday, December 31, 2017, 6:00 AM | Leave Comment

Document management software will go a long way to helping you organize and manage the documents of your project. But you still have to make sure the documents get to the right place.

These same techniques apply if you are not using document management software. It is just that you do them manually.

  1. Store all project documentation in a common repository

    The document repository holds all the project deliverables – both product-related and project management-related.

    For instance, the repository will hold the Project Charter and project schedule (project management deliverables), as well as the specification and design documents (product deliverables).

  2. Transition documents to the right area after the project

    After the project has completed, some of the documents may be archived, while others need to be maintained indefinitely.

    For instance, project Status Reports can be archived (or purged) when the project has completed, since they are time-sensitive and have limited value after the project is completed. On the other hand, you should save a User’s Manual after the project is completed.

    These saved documents can continue to be updated in the document repository if the repository is something that is utilized by the entire organization.

  3. Give Each Team Member His Own Workarea

    Usually the document repository does not hold documents that are currently being worked on in draft form.

    Each team member should have a workarea where he can store versions of documents that are currently in-progress but not yet in circulation. This could be on your local machine temporarily, or could be a repository directory or a folder that each team member has full access to.

    Team members can structure their workarea in whatever way makes sense to them.

  4. Protect the integrity of your document repository

    Large projects can generate a lot of documents. If you create a repository you need to establish some rules and processes to protect the integrity of the stored documents.

    For example, all of your team members usually need full access to any of their own documents that they create.

    However, you need to decide whether any team member can update documents created by other team members. In some projects this would be perfectly acceptable, while on other projects this would be considered a security breach.

You also should decide whether anyone on the team can add documents into your repository, or whether the update process will be handled by a person filling the role of a Librarian.

Your first thought might be that having a central librarian role to control updates to the document repository is an exercise in bureaucracy and overhead.

However, consider where this role might make great sense. If you have a vast amount of documentation, it is important that the documents that are added to the repository reflect a consistent and high quality.

The overall quality of the repository could degrade if everyone had the ability to add, delete and modify documents anywhere. Instead, a librarian can control the process of adding documents. The librarian is also responsible for purging old documents when they are no longer relevant.

Courtesy of…

This column is © copyright to and originally appeared in their weekly project management tip newsletter.

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