Managing Project Documents in Sharepoint - Introduction

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Last Updated 9-Jun-2014

The Sharepoint document management system has many features that can be used to support a robust project management process.  These include the ability to create document libraries and categorize documents within those libraries as well as supporting the ability to store information about the history of a document and revision control features to manage document versions.

However, it is very easy to allow Sharepoint to become a disorganized collection of files that are difficult to search and where important documents cannot be easily distinguished from items that are of minimal interest.  Without some degree of human organization or "digital curation" Sharepoint is not significantly better than a shared network drive.

This page describes one approach to "digital curation" that can be used to develop well-organized and easy-to-navigate collections of materials used during the course of a project.

The first thing to understand is that when it comes to a project not all documents are of equal importance.  For example, initial "blue sky" proposals that are not adopted, quotes and responses from vendors that are not selected and past status reports are all examples of documents that should be associated with a project but not given prominence on a project page in Sharepoint.

Documents that are important would include the major project process documents such as a project Charter, Project Plan, major decision records, risk register, etc. as well as final quotes and contracts with selected vendors.  Not only should it be easy to find these documents but they should also be organized into groupings that make sense and they should have "abstracts" which describe the document in sufficient detail for a reader to understand what is in the document before opening it.

The process of organizing documents in this way requires a more formally organized approach and involves a few extra steps beyond simply uploading documents to a Sharepoint site.  This up-front effort is more than compensated for by the time saved by all users of the project information who will be able to find the information they need quickly and with confidence that they are reviewing the latest and most accurate information.

What follows is a step-by-step guide to building effective project document repositories in Sharepoint.


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