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Project Records Part II

Trudy Robinson - Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Filesureis basically a method of records management applied to electronic intellectual property using software that everyone already has – (Windows Explorer/Mac directory structure etc).

You may have experienced going into an organisation where an individual can’t find the latest version of a particular safe operating procedure, or can’t find a file because someone is away – etc etc.  All the reasons why the likes of Microsoft are pushing Sharepoint, Xerox and all the other big companies are spending a lot of money of developing software tools to manage this. 

Filesure was aimed at getting organisations organised so that no matter who creates what when and for what purpose, it is owned, used, easily found and managed by the organisation.

It is based on files being saved based on their purpose rather than who created it – which is what 99% of organisations do (directory structure based on org structure – fails every time)!

So, as in any business activity, in projects and programme management it is all about consistent, clear structure and naming conventions.  This is how I structure a group of projects under a programme:

Programme Management directory (anything that affects multiple projects).
Subdirectory * Communications (at programme level)
Subdirectory * Programme Admin (budget, Terms of reference, Programme Mandate, etc)
Subdirectory * Meetings (Programme Agendas, minutes)
Subdirectory * Reports (weekly, highlight reports)
Subdirectory * Registers (issue, risk, project lists, contact/stakeholder lists, workshop attendance records, decision register etc)
Subdirectory * Schedule WBS (programme work breakdown structures, gantts, timeliness)
Subdirectory * Templates & Forms
Subdirectory * Support Docs (documents to support the programme but not generated by the team - provided from outside)
Subdirectory * Decision Records (some people call these option papers, those docs sent to project/prog board for decision)
Subdirectory * Test management (test plans, uat etc)
Subdirectory * Products - deliverables (products/deliverables by the programme/project)
Subdirectory * HR
Subdirectory * xx archive xx (never delete anything, just move it here)

Project Name (to be duplicated for each project
Subdirectory * Communications (for this specific project - save fom outlook here)
Subdirectory * Project Admin (budget,  work package documents, scope)
Subdirectory * Meetings (this project Agendas, minutes)
Subdirectory * Reports (project reports)
Subdirectory * Schedule WBS (project work breakdown structures, gantts, timeliness)
Subdirectory * Support Docs (documents to support the project but not generated by the team - provided from outside)
Subdirectory * Decision Records (some people call these option papers, those docs sent to project/prog board for decision)
Subdirectory * Test management (test plans, uat etc)
Subdirectory * Products - deliverables (products/deliverables by the programme/project)
Subdirectory * xx archive xx (never delete anything, just move it here)

So, the principal is that you do not create subdirectories. You don't need to.  Use a naming convention to segregate your files.  Too much to go through in a blog so you can contact me if you need to.  But, the principal for most of this is to give a file a name that will never change OR precede it with yymmdd.  So, the following

110411 - Program Highlight Report.doc
110418 - Project Team Report.doc
110427 - Project Team Report.doc

The above shows that on 2011, April 11 a program highlight report was recorded.
On April 18 a project team report was completed, together with another one on 27th.
The benefit of recording yymmdd at the beginning of each file is that they sort into chronological order - Date Modified doesn't enable this as it depends on the date it was changed, not the date of the report.  Also, if you put the date at the end of the file name, not the beginning, it sorts by the first word.  I could explain the ASCII sort sequence but it's all too hard here.

Keeping the full gammit of reports is necessary for historical reference.  An outdated draft work package may not need to be kept, so it is moved to the relevant xxarchivexx directory.  Never delete anything, just move it.  It'll save your skin more often than you realise.

So, I hope this helps.  It works and becomes a substantial reference tool, particularly if you ever end up in court.

Have fun.

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