Document control is an integral part of good project management
Tips for better document control
The purpose of a document control system is to a) create order for the various products involved in project management and b) ensure that anyone who needs to can access information easily and quickly.
1: Introduce a consistent naming convention
To find documents and information easily, it’s essential to use a logical and consistent naming convention. File names should be relatively short but could include identifiers such as the date of creation, the type of document, the project or client name, whether there have been any version updates, etc. Creating and sticking to a naming convention makes it easier to use queries to return search results quickly when required.
2: Use one centralized location for documentation
Using one centralized location for project documents means that all stakeholders come to the same place for their information. This reduces the likelihood of someone accessing out-of-date or inaccurate information because all updates and new versions will be introduced into that same location. It also becomes possible to introduce rules for document approval and sign-off in this centralized repository, as all documents will be subject to checks and oversight.
3: Implement information validation rules where required
The implementation of information validation rules can be a valuable tool in some projects. Where appropriate, requiring the validation of information within project paperwork makes it possible to check that complete information is submitted. If a document is missing critical pieces of data, then the validation rules would identify this and require the submitter to add more information to make the record complete. This is a useful control tool in projects where the format of documents is predictable or formulaic.
4: Maintain a revision library
The active documents in a project library should always be the most up-to-date versions. However, it’s also important to have visibility of previous versions. This could be in the form of an accessible revision history within the document itself or a separate set of older documents that have been superseded by newer versions. Either way, the critical point for document control is to have an audit trail of who and what has happened within your set of documentation over the project lifecycle.
5: Choose an IT document control solution that is fit for purpose
Your IT solution has a significant impact on your document control processes. Whichever system you choose, you need it to be agile, secure, flexible, and easily accessed by all relevant stakeholders. There are significant benefits to cloud hosting and cloud-based applications in project management, and you will likely want your document control solution to be cloud-based.
Better document control reduces project management stress
Having tight document control in your project means less stress for you as a project manager. Documentation is quickly and reliably accessed, and project team members can find the information they need whenever they need it. An audit trail is kept of all previous versions, and data will not be missing at the point of use.
Our project management experts specialize in helping companies with their project infrastructure, including improving document control. If you would benefit from a consultation with our knowledgeable team, calling on our years of experience in the industry, then get in touch to discuss your needs.