Can project value and success be measured by the sheer weight and volume of documents produced? Of course not, but documentation does matter. By design, projects produce and depend on multiple deliverables, all of which become part of the "project record". This record must be managed - both for the current project and for future reference. Read on to learn how it's done.
Project documentation provides the means by which information and ideas are created and shared, and it is the basis upon which decisions are made and approved. It can be said that "if it’s real, it’s documented", and in fact all key project elements are documented in at least one or more essential documents, ranging from the statement of work, through to the weekly status report. As such, project document management may not be particularly glamorous, but it is a key factor of project success.
Project document management ("doc-man") is defined by the practices and procedures used to create, distribute and store various types of project documentation. On a global level, document management practices are designed to fill the following goals and objectives:
At the end of the day, the ability to quickly and easily process and manage all types of project documents is essential to ensure a consistent flow of information to all project stakeholders. Project documents represent the body of facts, analysis, conclusions and decisions made throughout the project lifecycle, including the project Business Case, Statement of Work, Governance Plans, Status Reports, Project Job Profiles, and the multitude of subject matter documents (unique to a given project). These documents must be treated with respect, managed through standards that address production, distribution and retention needs.
The following listing provides a quick view of simple guidelines to be set for a consistent, standardized approach to managing project documents.
The first step to realize all of the time-saving benefits of standardized project document management is to ensure that adopted practices are appropriately "defined, aligned and approved" according to the needs and capabilities of individual projects. These are the questions that must be considered as part of this planning effort:
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Strategic "project fast tracking" is a streamlined project management process, specifically used to overcome the most common types of project obstacles, including insufficient time, resource shortages, budgetary deficiencies and stakeholder conflicts.
Get an illustrated view of the fast tracking process in the "Step-by-Step to a Fast Tracked Project" infographic.
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