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Recommended Project Management Folder Structure
Hi All,

We are in process of setting up the PMO and we are planning to refine the Project Folder Structure for all the projects. We are currently planning to organize them by project phases but there are some of documents that would be updated across phases, in such case how do we make it organized, do we stick to the same approach or are there any other recommended ways which have worked for organization. Would love to know from your experience how you made it the best
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Akash -

Start simple (just a few folders) and then expand as the need arises. If you create too elaborate a structure to begin with, it'll be pretty difficult with regular file folders to get compliance.

Given that Windows and other operating systems have decent file search capabilities, a detailed folder structure is unnecessary. You could start as simple as:

1. PM documents
2. Deliverable creation documents
3. Operations transition documents

Kiron
There are a couple different ways you may want to organize your data both with respect to phase and overall lifecycle. Part of the question is why you want to segregate your data.

Prior to firm contract, you may keep all your projects in one segregated area to limit information access on potential business. Projects that die on the vine get archived, those that are contracted, advance from the pre-contract to firm-contract server location. That makes it easy to manage server permissions.

When transferring data from one phase to the next, the state of the project is archived for the closed phase, and the data that continues from phase to phase gets copied over to the folders for the current phase. That provides both continuity and configuration control.

Now your basic file breakdown as projects evolve is active data, and archived data by phase. The active data is the most relevant as it's what you're currently working on. It may continue throughout the project phases The archived data is your historical record. Only the relevant data gets copied to the next phase. Once you're past CDR for example, the CDR files are archived, not carried over to the next phase.
It depends on the nature of the project and your interests.
While it depends on what you need to show regarding information life cycle and it depends on your organization definition of project life cycle let me say that in my actual work place we decide to create a folder for each phase and in the case a document has the life cycle you describe above we storage it in the folder that belongs to the last phase where the document is updated.
Anonymous
My office has our Project Folder setup by Knowledge Area (PKBOK 5th edition). It works really well.
Akash -

In most cases I have seen, the documents or data that span across phases within a project are project-centric documents which can go under a sub-folder within the PM folder. For example, if there is a document that tracks the progress of multiple phases within a project should find a place inside one of the PM folders rather than any other phase folders.
Hi Akash. Based on my experience the most effective folder structure utilizes a common sense approach that anyone could decipher--now or in the future. Organizing by project phase has caused confusion for those outside the PMO (and becomes even more complicated if your process is ever updated with new phases or adjusted titles). I always tailor my approach based on the specifics of a project, but at a high-level start with:
- Contracts
- Budget & Finance
- Project Documents (often with subfolders for things like communications, presentations, project schedules, requirements, status updates, etc.)
- Project Meetings
- Technology
- Training

Best of luck in finding the path that will work best for your organization!
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1 reply by Chaitanya Gore
Mar 29, 2022 5:15 PM
Chaitanya Gore
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Even I will suggest this structure. It has worked for me very well, for short duration as well as long duration multi-phase projects.
Mar 29, 2022 9:58 AM
Replying to Karen Haefner
...
Hi Akash. Based on my experience the most effective folder structure utilizes a common sense approach that anyone could decipher--now or in the future. Organizing by project phase has caused confusion for those outside the PMO (and becomes even more complicated if your process is ever updated with new phases or adjusted titles). I always tailor my approach based on the specifics of a project, but at a high-level start with:
- Contracts
- Budget & Finance
- Project Documents (often with subfolders for things like communications, presentations, project schedules, requirements, status updates, etc.)
- Project Meetings
- Technology
- Training

Best of luck in finding the path that will work best for your organization!
Even I will suggest this structure. It has worked for me very well, for short duration as well as long duration multi-phase projects.
As some highlighted, there is no real best practice that you can copy and be assured that it will work. I would suggest doing a pilot using some of the suggestions and seeing how that works for your organization and types of projects.
Like Anonymous, I have found grouping by knowledge area easier to maintain and search than by phase. Ideally, your PMIS allows you to tag your documents with multiple labels (à la Gmail). I've also used shortcuts, to allow access across folders.
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