10.2.2 DOCUMENTATION

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Your documentation drives the actions of all the people in your corporation,

company, enterprise, and project or program. If your documentation is incorrect,

your process and actions are going to be incorrect. If your people are

operating outside the established, documented policies, processes, and procedures,

you’ve got a real problem.

If you are a medium or large company, you probably have a number of

documents that drive your processes. In fact, the number of policies, processes,

and procedures that exist in a company are usually a function of the size of the

company. It follows then that if you are a small company, you have few, if any,

policies, processes, and procedures. All that is understandable.

If you are part of an enterprise that deals in projects or programs, you must

have more than just a few people in your company. To fit that profile, you

must have executives, staff, and operations and that means you need centralized

documentation, and that usually means a library. A library can take several

forms. It can be a box of books, an organized place for filing documents, or a

computer. The documents can be your own or they can be imported from

other sources. Additionally, the documents can be hard—meaning books—or

soft—meaning in a computer somewhere. Most likely, they are a combination

of both.

When considering a library, consider the order of the documents shown in

Figure 10-1. The order is important, particularly on the high end. If you are a

very small company, you will have your own priorities. You will probably start

at the Processes level or even the Reference Documents Level. The Policy level

isn’t particularly important because the guy who establishes policy is standing

next to you. Normally, however, in a medium or large company, you need

policies before you need processes, plans, and procedures. Reference documents

and specifications will be a matter of doing business.

Let’s assume that you are a medium or large company and already have a

traditional library. It will be a huge step in the right direction to have all (or at

least part) of that documentation in digital form. That form allows easy updating

and follows the first rule of modern documentation: ‘‘Don’t create, cut and

paste.’’ It allows the supervisor on the floor to have a copy of financial policies

as well as copies of current work orders stored in the computer. It also allows

you to control the documentation by ensuring a single master copy that is referenced

by all users.

Figure 10-2 presents a schematic of an electronic library. The cylinder in the

center is the central computer of the database that contains all the digitized

documentation data. As you can see, that data is available to all personnel with

computer access. In today’s world, that usually means everybody. Further, all

F i g u r e 1 0 - 1 — A T y p i c a l T r a d i t i o n a l L i b r a r y

Policies

Processes

Plans

Procedures

Forms

Ref. Docs

Specifications

Other

F i g u r e 1 0 - 2 — S c h e m a t i c o f a n E l e c t r o n i c L i b r a r y

Administrator

Senior Advisory Council

All

Internet E-mail

Documentation

Database

the employees could now have e-mail capability and Internet connectivity for

communication. At the top of the diagram, you will see some terms that may

or may not be familiar. Certainly, nearly everyone understands who the Administrator

is. That’s the person responsible for inputting and maintaining and

controlling the database, as directed. The Senior Advisory Council is the authority

for database content. The ‘‘Council’’ can indeed be a council, or it can be

one person. Your company will decide on how large it should be and who

should be a part of it. With the simple diagram shown in Figure 10-2, you can

see the concept of the Electronic Library. I go into a considerable amount of

detail in my Strategy for Success workshops regarding how to set up and control

an electronic library for your scheme.