CXO

Sample directory structure helps manage project documentation

Project managers on large projects should plan ahead for how they want their documents to be organized, stored, and retrieved. Here's how to set up the document directory.

Large projects tend to generate a lot of documentation. If you're not careful, these documents will become disorganized and require extra effort from the project team to find, store, and manage. Project managers on large projects should plan ahead for how they want the documents to be organized, stored, and retrieved.

There are many aspects of project document management. One of the things you need to define is a directory or folder structure that provides guidance to team members on the specific locations for storing documents.

The first step is to define a logical view of how the documents should be organized. The logical view just means that you place a draft on paper for feedback. Once you have agreement on this view, you implement it in the specific directory structure or tool. The structure should be one that's easy to understand and easy to use. I recommend that the document repository be comprised of four main areas:

  • Project Deliverables. A directory for storing all project related deliverables. This is further broken down into subfolders to provide more guidance on where specific documents should be stored.
  • Project Management Deliverables. A directory for storing all project management related deliverables (Charter, Status Reports, Communication Pan, etc.). This is further broken down into subfolders to provide more guidance on where specific documents should be stored.
  • Reference. This directory is used to store documents that are used as input to the project, such as architecture definition, client organization charts, training material, graphics, etc.
  • Work Area. This area includes a directory for each team member to use to create work products. Each team member can organize their directory in whatever manner makes sense to them. There is no standard structure.

The following directory is an example of how you can use the four areas above to create a directory template that can be used on all projects.

Project ABC (place your project name here)

\Project Deliverables

\Final
\Draft
\Work in Progress

\Project Management Deliverables

\Project Definition
\Communications
\Presentations
\Financial Information
\Logs
\Miscellaneous
\Workplans
\Status
\Meeting Minutes
\Reports

\Reference

\Tutorials
\Templates
\Other Reference Material

\Workarea

\Team member 1
\Team member 2
\(etc..)

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