Managing project documentation demands a measure of discipline. Some team members may adhere to your structure and others may not do so. Not everyone shares the same respect for order. Follow these tips to encourage respect for your processes.
First, mandate that all project details get documented, even just in notes. For example, you can create a SharePoint folder for miscellaneous documents and categorize them later. In this manner, you can be sure of capturing all knowledge and lessons learned without needing to file it right away. On a regular basis, schedule a moment or two to review the documents in your file management structure. By scheduling routine maintenance, you can prevent a significant effort at the end of the project.
Next, monitor input. On some teams, documenting project progress goes undone because people fail to make time to write up notes, decisions or problems. Tracking time spent and lessons learned go undocumented. Any benefits gleaned go unnoticed. By rewarding people who follow your plans, you can encourage better behavior from those who miss deadlines. Accept that you may not get everyone on board. If you get most people following your advice, you’ll get the majority of what you need to make managing a chaotic project saner.
In summary, keeping project plans and other project documentation clear, concise and up-to-date makes all the difference between project chaos and project order. Keep mayhem at bay by organizing yourself, others and the project through dedicated, diligent documenting and recording. While overzealous note-taking can become tedious, a moderate amount of documentation can help you keep a project on track with minimum effort when you handle it each and every day.