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Document management - where next?


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Title: Document management - where next?

Document management -where next?
  • Tom Graves
  • Xio Consulting

Whats happening with document management?
  • (and whats it all about, anyway?)

What is document management?
  • Document management is the controlled
    development, issue and maintenance of shared
    information, both within an organisation, and
    between an organisation and its customers.
  • This report mainly addresses concerns with XXX
    project documents, but similar issues may apply
    elsewhere in XXX.

Why do we need project documents?
  • Project content - the work we do - is defined by
    document content
  • Project payments - especially intermediate stages
    - depend on document delivery
  • Project quality depends in part on document

Whats in project documents?
  • Project documents define and record requirements
  • the definition of what is to be delivered
  • the designs for purpose-built functionality
  • tests to validate correct operation
  • confirmed conformance to requirements
  • Project documents and revisions help to track
    requirements throughout the projects life.

What happens to requirements?
  • Requirements expand as the project details
  • Requirements are revised, created or deleted at
    project meetings
  • Requirements can also be created internally
  • Conformance to requirements must be tested and

What changes must be traced?
  • When requirements change, we must record
  • what was changed
  • when it was changed
  • who authorised change at XXX and at customer
  • We also must record
  • tests for conformance to requirements
  • non-conformances identified in tests
  • actions taken to correct non-conformances

What document types are there?
  • Project Plan, including
  • Quality Plan
  • Acceptance Test Strategy
  • Functional Requirement Specification
  • Detailed System Design
  • Acceptance Test Specification
  • Project Change Request

What is document status?
  • For each document, we need to know
  • Does it exist?
  • If it exists, where is it?
  • What state is it in?
  • If someones working on it, who?
  • If someones working on it, when will it be ready?

Is there a problem withdocument management?
  • (and if there is one, what is it?)

Whats the problem?
  • Lost and late documents
  • Poor control of document content and version
  • Documents accidentally deleted or damaged
  • Lack of access to documents
  • Frustrations at long turn-round times
  • File and format problems with legacy documents
  • Confusions about procedures
  • Confusions about requirements

Lost and late documents...
  • we were threatened with contract penalties by
    YYY because we hadnt delivered the documents
  • the DSDs had been signed, but they sat on the
    project managers desk for over three weeks
  • no-one knew where the ATS was, or whether it
    even existed

Poor control of documents...
  • the customer signed an uncontrolled copy, so we
    had to get them to sign it again
  • we eventually found out wed edited the old
    version, not the current one
  • it went out with the wrong address on the cover,
    the wrong document ID, the wrong customer logo
    and even the wrong customer name!

Documents deleted or damaged...
  • Word95 wrecks the headings in edited documents
  • I keep losing the graphics I put into the
  • I deleted what I thought was my own
    sub-directory on the Projects drive, but it
    actually contained all the project documents -
    and some of them werent in the backup

Lack of access to documents...
  • DocCentral is cumbersome, slow, ugly and often
    out of date
  • when I came back, I found Id lost access to the
    drive - the system server had crashed, and they
    hadnt rebuilt my permissions
  • its easier to bypass the whole system and get
    it from the Projects drive myself

Frustration at long turn-round...
  • I cant afford to wait four weeks for an update
  • you dont want to be waiting three or four weeks
    for a document
  • I dont understand why it has to take several
    days just to print a release version of a

Problems with legacy documents...
  • editing old Word95 documents has been a
  • is there any mechanism for identifying whether
    old documents have been polluted irretrievably?
  • Ive no idea if Im basing my new documents on
    old standards which have been changed

Confusions about procedures...
  • theres no written explanation of the document
    control process - not even a high-level
    description of that process anywhere
  • people just dont follow the system
  • its pretty impossible for a new person to
    stumble across the guidelines
  • where do I find the right graphics and logos,

Confusions about requirements...
  • weve had many arguments with ZZZ about what
    wed said we were and werent going to deliver as
    part of the contract
  • a programmer mentioned that we were developing
    our own extensions to kkkk, so the customer
    expected this as standard
  • the only way of checking requirement changes is
    by manually searching PCRs

So is there a problem?
  • Yes, there are real problems
  • Lost and late documents Poor control of document
    content and version Documents accidentally
    deleted or damaged Lack of access to documents
    Frustration at long turn-round File and format
    problems with legacy documents Confusions about
    procedures Confusions about requirements
  • - confusions about who, what, when, where and
  • Yet all these problems arise from lack of
    awareness, and communication breakdown.

Whats going wrong?
  • Document- and requirement-management
    under-resourced and under-valued
  • Poor coordination between projects and between
  • Lack of training, especially for new staff
  • General lack of awareness
  • never let the left hand know what the right or
    middle hands are doing

Who can we blame, perhaps?
  • Blaming people or the system doesnt help!
  • the closer we get to finding who to blame,the
    further we get from a solution
  • More to the point, these issues affect everyone,
    from senior management down -
  • so we need to involve everyone, from senior
    management down, in resolving them.
  • These issues are everyones responsibility.

How did we get here?
  • (and what do we do about it?)

How do we do it at present?
  • Document management
  • document registers
  • Word templates and DocMan macros
  • DocCentral web-site
  • standard directory structures
  • Requirements tracking
  • a lot of hand-work by project managers
  • a private database maintained by test manager

What document control exists?
  • Word templates
  • DocMan macros
  • DocCentral web-site
  • Predefined directory structures
  • Manual checking prior to issue
  • BUTvery little of this works properly any more

About the Word templates...
  • We do have templates
  • created for Word95
  • contain base-text for most types of documents
  • BUT all urgently need updating because
  • current templates not compatible with Word97
  • default document content is out of date
  • new templates needed for new document types (such
    as Functional Baseline)

About the DocMan macros...
  • DocMan is a set of Word95 macros which
  • managed document-naming conventions
  • managed version info in documents
  • managed printing
  • managed multi-document problems
  • BUT update needed because
  • it is compatible only with Word95(Word97 update
    was prepared but not released)
  • some functions are difficult to use and/or are no
    longer relevant in Word97

About the DocCentral web-site...
  • DocCentral is a section of the intranet which
  • displays current version of documents
  • identifies whos editing documents
  • stores and archives documents
  • It does work, but there are problems
  • it is not easy to use, hence is not being used
  • it does not prevent uncontrolled access
  • it is not accessible from outside (such as from
  • it is easy to break (such as by renaming
  • it will be difficult to upgrade

About the directory structures...
  • Projects use similar structures on the Projects
  • this defines generic storage for documents
  • DocCentral creates its own directory structure
    within this structure
  • automated backups are maintained
  • BUT there are problems
  • access policy is unclear (NT access rights
  • structures and names are inconsistent between
  • uncontrolled personal directories are interleaved
    with private and public directories

About the checking process...
  • Before each document is released, an editor
  • checks document ID, references and version info
  • checks client details and signatories
  • updates the respective record in the document
  • checks that the document is available in
  • BUT there are problems
  • the process is tedious and error-prone
    (especially without automated tools such as
  • it is sometimes not done at all...

Isnt this the tech-writers job?
  • Not really, because
  • Document control and release schedules often
    conflict with editing schedules
  • Conflicts arise between projects, which
    tech-writers cannot resolve
  • Document management must be everyones
    responsibility if it is to work well

What requirements control exists?
  • Some experimental tools do exist
  • Requirements Traceability Matrix generator
  • Basic requirements database (Quality Manager)
  • ATS_SCAN template to generate test lists
  • Test results database (Test Manager)
  • BUT
  • everything else is manual (such as PCR info)
  • there is no overall integration or traceability

What can we do about this?
  • (and why should we do it?)

Actions on document control
  • 1. Split document control from tech-writing
  • 2. Define procedures for manual document control
  • 3. Establish training - for all project staff -
    on document control
  • 4. Define and implement automated processes for
    document control

Actions on standardisation
  • 5. Update Word templates, identifying options for
    automated functions (if any)
  • 6. Define document standards, including style and
    formatting standards for writers
  • 7. Define system standards, including project
    directory structures and system configurations

Actions on other issues
  • 8. Identify and implement feedback on document
  • 9. Prepare introductory material for new staff
  • 10. Identify and upgrade relevant legacy
  • 11. Identify and implement integrated
    requirements tracking

1. Split document management
  • Document management needs to be split into two
    separate sets of tasks
  • Technical writing - managing the content of
  • Document control - managing the identification,
    storage and issue of documents

Technical writing tasks are...
  • Clarify expression and structure
  • Provide assistance with presentation of ideas and
  • Ensure consistency of text and language
  • Ensure consistency of appearance and format
  • These all require specialist skills.

Document control tasks are...
  • Verify that document has correct content
  • Verify that document is correctly identified
  • Verify that document is in its correct place
  • Verify that the right document is available
    whenever its required
  • Everyone can - and should - do this.

2. Manual document control
  • Update existing DocCentral procedure to explain
    what DocCentral does
  • Provide procedure to bypass DocCentral (such as
    for external access to documents)
  • Provide procedure for document release, with
    step-by-step checklist
  • Aim for maximum turn-round of 15 mins for
    document release

3. Training on document control
  • All procedures to be accessible via DocCentral
  • Self-training materials to be available for new
    staff (including contractors)
  • Urgent requirement for training of all project
    staff in document release, to eliminate
    dependence on availability of tech-writer

4. Automated document control
  • Research options on automated document control
    and version control
  • upgrade DocCentral
  • extend Visual SourceSafe
  • other off-the-shelf systems (such as Paradigm)
  • Implement chosen option
  • Provide ongoing training in use of automated
    document management system

5. Update Word templates
  • Update style-sheets to Word97 standards
  • Update default content to match new needs
  • Research requirements and options for automated
    functionality (macros)
  • upgrade DocMan to integrate with DocCentral
  • replace DocMan with new functionality
  • rely on manual processes or external links

6. Define document standards
  • Update existing formatting style-manual
  • Define standard document types, with customer
    cross-reference (such as FRS to FB)
  • Ensure reference standards such as Macquarie
    dictionary and AGPS style-manual are generally
  • Provide training materials on document standards
    - and ensure that staff use them!

7. Define system standards
  • Define standard directory structures for all
    projects, with documented access rights
  • projects may extend this for project-specific
    needs, but should not change standard structure
  • Define standard software configurations
  • provide guidelines for use of non-standard
  • manage organisation-wide version upgrades

8. Provide status feedback
  • Amend manual procedures to include notification
    of document-status changes
  • Ensure automated processes provide feedback to
  • Implement a publicly-accessible queue to
    provide status on documents in progress
  • aim is to simplify negotiations on document

9. Provide introductory info
  • Update list of whos who and whos where
  • Provide pointers to standards information
  • procedures
  • style manuals
  • standard software configuration
  • location of key project reference files - project
    status, project contacts, customer logos and
    other details

10. Manage legacy documents
  • Identify existing documents still live or in
    use as base for new documents
  • Review content and file-format for upgrade
  • Plan for long-term maintenance and upgrade of
    documents as they enter the legacy pool
  • future revision or re-use of content
  • future technology changes

11. Manage requirements tracking
  • Identify data relationships in requirements
  • inheritance (implements higher requirement)
  • amendment (Project Change Request)
  • recursion (non-conformance in testing)
  • closure (delivery, cancellation)
  • Assess, acquire and integrate tools to manage
    requirements tracking
  • software examples RequisitePro, Paradigm

Requirements tracking needs...
  • Requirements-tracking database
  • Data update forms, such as for use after customer
  • Tools for automated processing of documents
  • Reports for each project stage and for each type
    of document

What will it cost?
  • (and will it be worth it?)

Whats the cost of doing this?
  • The essential changes will cost little
  • new DocCentral pages a few days
  • new procedures for manual process a few days
  • new templates and training a few man-weeks
  • new management tools a few man-months
  • Costs of longer-term changes will depend on
  • the options chosen
  • software bought-in or developed in-house

Whats the cost of not doing this?
  • Loss of credibility and reputation
  • Loss of ISO 9000 accreditation
  • Frustrated staff, leading to higher risk of staff
  • Frustrated customers, leading to higher risk of
    lawsuits and other customer problems
  • These are costs that no company can afford...

The real cost...
  • The real cost here is not in dollars - whats
    needed is a change in culture and attitude
  • Everyone is responsible for document-management
  • Everyone is responsible for tracking requirements
  • Everyone is responsible for communication within
    and between projects

What can we do right now?
  • (and who should do it?)

Recommended Action Items (1)
  • A1 Update and issue DocCentral procedures,
    including procedure for manual access and
  • A2 Prepare and issue procedure and checklist for
    document-release process
  • A3 Coordinate training on document-control
    procedures, for at least one person per project

Recommended Action Items (2)
  • A4 Prepare on-line (DocCentral) versions of
    document-control procedures and other
    introductory material for new staff
  • A5 Research and report on options for automated
    document control
  • A6 Develop Word97 template for current
    style-sheet, for immediate release, and plan
    updates for full template suite

Recommended Action Items (3)
  • A7 Reassess required document types, including
    consolidation and simplification of default
  • A8 Develop and release style-manual
  • A9 Coordinate training on document standards
  • A10 Reassess directory structures and
    access-rights on Projects drive

Recommended Action Items (4)
  • A11 Define system standards for software,
    including software release and guidelines for
    management of non-standard software
  • A12 Assess and develop feedback to users on
    document-status changes
  • A13 Develop and maintain on-line (via
    DocCentral) list of whos who and whos where

Recommended Action Items (5)
  • A14 Develop strategy and procedures for
    maintenance of legacy documents
  • A15 Assess and report on methods to improve
    current requirements-tracking
  • A16 Research and report on options for automated
  • Thats all - for now

So lets go to it!
  • (and that means all of us!)