Project Management Documentation Techniques

As project managers we all know how crucial documentation can be. It is crucial in any project phase, regardless of the project specifications, deadlines, or life cycle. Documentation is important to monitor and track for record keeping, filing, and archiving purposes. So what documentation techniques are best for your team and project?

Some of the typical documentation techniques include the following:

Meeting minutes. One of the most common documentation techniques could be as simple as someone taking detailed and thorough meeting notes. Meetings could range from weekly development or project status update meetings, planning meetings, post mortem meetings, or even expert interview meetings, as a means to gather data.

Meeting minutes should be either written down or typed electronically using a laptop or tablet during a meeting. They then should be saved in a universal location where other team members can access them, such as a designated area in a project folder on a server, or uploaded to a project management software or platform.

Risk Registers. One documentation technique that focuses heavily on risks is the risk register. Risk registers are repositories that include all project data, probability, impact, and risk level as well as other crucial, detailed project information. A risk register can be detailed in project management software or platform, a spreadsheet, or even in word processing format.

The outputs for risk registers can also either be maintained in hard copy or electronic copy format. Similar to meeting minutes, risk registers should be kept in a centralized location, such as uploaded into software or on a common server, for all team members to access at any point during the life cycle of a project.

Work and Risk Breakdown Structures (WBS, RBS). Work Breakdown Structures (WBS) include specifications, analyses, and projections in a documented plan. The documented plan itself can be designed in various formats and techniques, such as diagramming techniques, which often involve the visual representation of the WBS in a variety of flow charts or visual aides.

The Risk Breakdown Structure (RBS) is similar to the WBS in which is a documented plan identifying and categorizing the risks in a documented plan. Diagramming and similar visual aides can be utilized in the creation of the RBS to what we saw in the WBS. The purpose of the RBS is to identify the risks associated with the project, whether they are certain or uncertain, and what the probability and impact levels are.

Finally, documentation is definitely a crucial area in the large realm of project management. Not only is it important for the overall communication and function of a project, it is also extremely essential for archiving purposes. Archiving is not only a smart, and standard procedure that should implemented in any organization, it is also a crucial reference point. Future projects can depend on prior, archived projects for information, data that was previously collected, and as reference or sources for current or future projects.

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About Julie

Julie Anne Hoey is the owner and founder of J. H. Language Solutions. She has over four years experience in publishing as a full time editor and project manager. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Anna Maria College in Paxton, Massachusett. The main focus of her personal and professional studies has always been language. Her project management experience began while she was working for Victory Productions, a small publishing house in Worcester, MA. She now holds a position at Pearson Learning Solutions, the largest textbook publisher in the world, managing an initiative to ensure that custom higher ed textbooks are more relevant and cost effective for students. As the textbook publishing industry is facing steep competition from digital format books, she has learned to work closely with professors, adopters and field editors all over the country to ensure projects are seen through to successful completion. Her own consulting business, J. H. Language Solutions, is dedicated to helping businesses and individuals with their language needs and challenges whether it be translation, editing, writing blogs, or project management. She can be hired via her oDesk page: