Imagine if your most important photos—your child’s first birthday party, the day you brought home your new dog, that awesome vacation in Europe—were all lost forever. Your computer fell into the bathtub or the hard drive was wiped by an electrical storm, and you didn’t back up your drive. Don’t let this happen to your project documentation. Keep it accessible and functional for the life of your project as well as secure for future use, whether it’s for new end users, future implementations, or even project auditors. Consider the following and you will be on your way to doing documentation right:
You’ll want to figure out the Four W’s- Who, When, What, Where
Who? Who needs access and what level of access do they need? Do they have authority to sign off on documents, or are they just a viewer? Someone who can edit documents and share them? Define a few user groups according to their necessary level of editing rights. Use categories such as content Viewers, Team Members (creating and posting documentation) and Administrators. Also, be sure to get all individuals setup with a secure login so that they can access the information. Line up someone to be in charge of setting up and allowing new access requests for others. Be sure to designate someone that will be in charge of overall organization and version clean-up within the space. Sometimes multiple drafts of one document can get overwhelming, so you’ll want to be sure someone is tidying up along the way so that old versions aren’t confused with the latest drafts.
What? Now we’ll really need a good project tool with all of the built-in capabilities you need to ensure security, version control and ease of use. If the client company uses a Windows-based authentication system, this will work well with a number of collaboration tools, such as Microsoft® SharePoint or JIRA Confluence. These tools also make it possible for contractors, like partner company team members, to have project-specific login credentials.When? When should you set up the collaboration software or a documentation repository? It’s prudent to do this as far in advance of the project as possible so that pre-project kick-off communications or documentation can be posted to have an effective Day 1. Many companies have tools that they use to ensure a current version of the very first documentation. Dangerous gaps can form that leave crucial decisions out of the paper trail.
Don’t worry; you don’t have to have the entire organizational structure of the project down before you build your platform. This is just an address for everyone to visit and build from as you go along.
Where? You’ll need a location that is accessible to both the client and the partner team. If you host on your internal network, you might get into proprietary issues for client-side devices—and your partner team might not have the access they need. Work out any remote login logistics prior to the project start date.