Hundreds of different processes and procedures occur over a construction project, so it’s no surprise that there are hundreds of different documents involved as well. To keep your project running smoothly, there needs to be an effective project management document control system in place. Without a system, the organization and success of your project are at risk. If you want to set yourself up for success, you need to brainstorm and come up with a plan before your project starts.
Below I will discuss some tips that will help ensure a successful document control system.
1. Make documentation accessible
Providing easy access to all documents will ensure that team members stay informed and on schedule. The easiest way to do this is through software that allows you to view documents via mobile phone, tablet, or desktop. Through this software, you’ll be able to look at designs, statements, drawings, etc. Having a central location of information that is accessible to everyone is crucial so everyone can be on the same page.
2. Give documents unique code numbers
Assigning codes to each document will help you identify and trace documents later on. Unpredictable things can happen that will need to be resolved. This helps when someone is in need of a specific document for their job and that way they will not need to sort through tons of information that is irrelevant to them.There is also a chance you will need to pull up past records and you will definitely thank yourself if they are easily identifiable.
3. Keep everyone informed
If changes are made to a document, there needs to be a system in place that notifies all parties. Using a software system can streamline this. Most current software applications have features that will automatically notify relevant parties when changes are made. This notification will be sent directly to their mobile phone, tablet, or computer. With this in place, you never have to worry about workers using an outdated version of something ever again! Technology today makes it much easier to keep people updated and informed. It is much more efficient than pen and paper or word of mouth (which is not a good system at all, ever played the game telephone?)
4. Tracking the Information Flow
The flow of the information itself is also very important. How it travels through different teams involved in the project can aid in minimizing confusion. The most efficient way to track the flow of the information is to simply map it out. Is it digital? Print? If both, is it redundant? Once you answer some questions, you can proceed from there.
5. Optimizing Information Flow
Once you’ve established the map, it’s time to really enhance it. Evaluate the number of documents you have and whether it’s too much for the amount of information being shared. It would also help to look at how often information is being sent through. Too much information and too often can cause issues such as confusion and may not reach everyone and therefore everyone is not on the same page. The information process should deliver the correct piece of information to the correct person and the correct time.
6. Choose One Source
To avoid any complications or confusion; you need to choose one source for issuing documents. If you do decide to use a software system, there should be no changes issued by hard copy or email. Choosing one source makes everyone’s life easier. It also causes less conflict because two people will not end up with different information. Having everyone on the same page is crucial in project management.
7. Choose one place to store
As I mentioned above, sticking with one system will make your life a lot easier. When it comes to document storage, it’s the same. If you are using software, you need to keep copies of everything stored in the software application. If you have certain documents stored in the software and others stored in physical filing cabinets, you will have yourself in a sticky situation.
8. Functional Document Formats
The format of the document might often be overlooked however it can help with efficiency. Considering the document carries a ton of crucial information, the way that information is presented can be imperative. We’ve already discussed digital vs. physical however regardless of which you choose; there should be a set format for each. Each format should be designed in a way that gets the correct information across as best as possible.
9. Gain support from Executives
Gaining senior executive support will help you to avoid employee backlash. Sometimes it can be hard to implement a new system or way of doing things. Endorsement from the leaders in your business will ease any indifference or resistance. It will also make the transition go much more smoothly. This gives you a much higher chance of success!
Document control is no easy task, but with a little planning, it doesn’t have to be such a headache. Take the time to review these tips so that you can decide the best document control system for your construction project.