ExecutiveChronicles | Effective Documentation Management for Beginners | The more you work, the more papers you add to your working device, and the harder it gets to find anything there. We all faced the moment of desperately looking for the document we remembered had been there but could not find it. What about the time when all the team is waiting for you to find an important file on your computer? Without a proper software documentation tool and a well-developed strategy for document management, you can struggle to meet the deadlines for an important project.
Many newcomers usually underestimate the power of documentation management. After the first project, they can change their minds, overloaded by documentation they did not expect to be there. This is why it is essential to create a strategy for how to manage your documents. Here are the helpful ideas:
- Don’t save everything you receive. You don’t require all the documents that are sent to you. Read the content, find out whether you have to do something with it, and think if you need this document in the future. If you don’t, it’s not necessary to save it on your device. Too many files can make the searching process unbearable;
- Name your documents properly. You need to name your files using a chosen strategy. The title has to be informative so that you can easily find it further. Name folders based on the project and the team that is working on it. It must be intuitive.
- Link documents for one project together. Even if you have different types of documents but you know they are related to each other, store them in one folder. This is how you can easily find them later. Don’t separate files by type, or you risk never finding them again. Combine documents that belong to one project, one presentation, or one team together;
- Separate the files you still work on from the already completed ones. You will have to come back to the ongoing documents more frequently than to the completed versions. Apart from that, you should keep in mind that there are documents you did not finish. This way, you won’t forget about them as easily as if you mix the completed files with ongoing ones. If it is possible, add these files to your desktop instead of hiding them in one of the folders. You will always see them, and it will be easy to come back to these files whenever you need them;
- Don’t overfill the folder. If you can separate projects into different folders, do it. Find the key similarity in files and combine them in one unit. It can be the year or the project owner. Name the folder according to these specifics, including the year or the company’s name.
The main recommendation for everyone who works with documents is to stay focused while you are working. It will help you to avoid making numerous mistakes. Follow these simple tips and arrange your files and folders in a proper way. It is the basic set of rules for any tech writer. If you have more advice to share, you can do it in the comments below. How do you organize your documentation?