PM4DEV Blog

Ideas, suggestions and general thoughts about project management for development.

Information Management

Control your project document management process

The larger a project is, the more difficult it becomes to share information between all the team members and stakeholders. This is especially true when more than one person works on large deliverables. If the project manager does not think about these document management processes ahead of time, the project team will end up with problems finding relevant information. This generally results in confusion and extra effort in re-doing work that was already completed.

The project creates many documents; for instance, the Project Charter, Issues Log, Logframe, schedule, etc. After a document is created, the team members need to know where it should be stored. Depending on the level of sophistication, the document might go into a network file folder, a file folder on a hard drive, a document management software package, or an intranet. After the document is created, the team must know who can have access to it. Most documents might be accessible to the entire team, but there may be restrictions when the project manager may only want them to be able to view the documents and not change them.

The project should come up with a common naming convention for the original document and any revisions. For example, any updates to the Project Charter, the document creator can save the original document and then designate the new document as version 2. These are all part of your document management procedures.

A good example is the project Status Reports. The project manager should determine the naming conventions of the Status Reports ahead of time. If every team member sends a Status Report to the project manager, it will not be long before the project manager has dozens or hundreds of Status Reports.

To help identify and sort documents, each report should name the document using a standard format such as –Name- -Status Report- -Date-. In this fashion the reports can be filtered by date or name and the project manager can easily identify which is the latest report 

Document management considerations are trivial for small projects. For large ones, these processes need to be planned ahead of time or else confusion, uncertainty, and extra work will occur when the project is in progress.

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Do you know how to back up your Project Data?

Regular backups are vital insurance against a data-loss catastrophe. Unfortunately, this is a lesson that most people learn only from bitter experience. Developing a solid backup plan requires an investment of time and money, but the cost is far less than the often-impossible task of recreating data for which no backup exists.

 

Files can be lost from your computer in any number of ways—you might accidentally delete a file, or a virus might wipe one out. You can also have a complete hard drive failure. When a hard drive dies an untimely death, it's kind of like having your house burn down. Important personal items are usually gone forever—family photos, significant documents, downloaded music, and more.Thankfully it's a really simple process these days to back up your content to a second, separate location. By doing so, your files can be protected against viruses or complete computer failure. This makes it easy to retrieve and place them on a new hard drive and get going again.

Today, there are many options for backing up your content. You don't need any sophisticated equipment—you can use CDs, DVDs, external hard drives, flash drives, network drives, or even online storage like Windows Live SkyDrive. It might be a good idea to back up your data to multiple places. For example, you might choose to back up your content onto both an external hard drive and to an online storage site.

  • Develop a is of all the folders and documents you need a backup
  • Select the most convenient backup tool. If you have a large set of data to backup an external hard drive is the best choice. For old or historic data you can use CDs, DVDs, this is data that you don’t use regularly
  • Select the software to help you manage the data backup. Windows comes with a backup tool, but there are other applications, (some for free) that can help you make a backup of all your files.
  • Define regular intervals to back up your data
  • Backup your data per schedule
  • Test the backup data to ensure the backup is complete and that you can access it.

By following these simple steps you will be able to have a backup process that will give you some piece of mind by knowing that all the information you worked so hard is now secure.

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