Project Management

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Topics: Construction, Estimating, Knowledge Management, Lessons Learned, PMO
What are good practices for project records management?
While it may seem obvious, records management is critical for day-to-day project management as well as post-project completion data mining for contract claims and closeout processes, and for post-project Lessons Learned for planning future projects. The content and format for records management and retention is determined by a combination of sources including: A) Organizational internal policies and procedures, including contracting and legal requirements. B) Project management office requirements and processes. C) Funding source and partner requirements. D) Contract requirements. E) Professional Engineering License requirements

Electronic medium for files has all but replaced hard-copy printed on paper documents, which not too long ago. Paper copies of project documents – contracts and correspondence, drawings, specifications, calculations, schedules, estimates and monthly reports, were the standard medium used for program/project central file systems. As noted in PMBOK, records management is a system that provides an organized mechanism for storing and retrieving project documents. It may also be coordinated with a project information system. Whether manual or automated, paper or electronic medium, the system used must capable of integrating several forms of documents and software applications used throughout the project.

Emails continue to be the most used form for receiving or sending project documents. As a result, the records management system must integrate Emails.

Establishing an integrated system for project documents is essential for managing day to day work but it is used across all areas of PMBOK and Construction Extensions. Project documents are used also for accessing and retrieving project records for validating scope, assembling data for progress reports, calculating earned value, verifying and authorizing changes and payments, assessing quality compliance, closing procurements, and resolving claims. Based on my experience, here are the good practices for several types of records on a project.

Project files should be aligned with the topics contained in the Project Management Plan/Charter or the Owner’s Project Plan. Typical topics include scope/project plan, project changes, division of work, contract (s), overall schedule and milestones, budget and expenses, estimate and task breakdown, project invoices, monthly project reports, procurement and materials, public affairs/presentations, risks, quality control and quality assurance, safety/security, and community outreach. Here is a top-level framework of folders:
1. Project Development and Requirements
2. Standards, Regulations, Code Compliance
3. Project Scope/Plan Book
4. General Project File
5. Schedule
6. Budget
7. Progress Reports
8. Contracts
9. Material Procurement
10. Project Invoices
11. Quality
12. Drawings and Specifications
13. Safety/Security
14. Risks

Contract files for each contract should be aligned with the topics and performance indicators in the Monthly Progress Report. Typical topics cited include contract changes, invoices and payments, schedules, progress reports and photographs, correspondence, submittals and deliverables, test and inspections, quality control and quality assurance, safety/security, Request For Information, and contract claims. Here is a top-level framework of folders:
8.1.1 Contract Development
8.1.2 Contract Documents
8.1.3 Invoices
8.1.4 Schedule
8.1.5 Progress Reports/Schedule Updates
8.1.6 General/Request For Information
8.1.7 Submittals
8.1.8 Deliverables
8.1.9 Meetings
8.1.10 QA Manual
8.1.11 Safety Manual
8.1.12 Daily Reports

Email files should be consistent with at least the first level of topics on the Project and Contract files. Here is a framework of folders:
4.0 Project
4.1 General
4.2 Scope/Changes
4.3 Invoices
4.4 Schedule
4.5 Reports
4.6 Contract 1
4.7 Contract 2
4.8 Contract n

Electronic files are the business standard. This enables organizations to eliminate storage of paper files, which can take up significant floor space in the office. While this works well on documents that are needed a minimal number of times, it offers extensive challenges to project teams that need to retrieve numerous documents required to complete internal and external management and quality audits, scope verifications, contract closeouts, contract claims research, and project closeouts or contract claims research.

TIP: Due to the significance, the Project Manager should take an active role in establishing the system before delegating the records management task to other staff.

TIP: Code each document with the file folder number (s).

TIP: The detail and sophistication of records management should be balanced with the manpower required to store and retrieve the records.

TIP: The hierarchy of records is the project files, contract file and Email file.

TIP: To mitigate the risk of computer or network downtime, always be prepared with an alternate source for project records.

TIP: Organizational policies, procedures and corporate IT systems must account equally to storage and retrieval of Emails.
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Henry,it is indeed a great effort to produce such an exhaustive list on good practices .I am sure if followed in totality it will pay rich dividends to the party following it on project religiously .It will be much easier to justify and defend legitimate contractual claim/entitlement and prove your point to reject a counter claim .Excellent !
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1 reply by Henry Hattenrath
Feb 06, 2017 6:02 PM
Henry Hattenrath
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Chandrashekhar

Thank you for your encouragement. Feel free to share all the articles.

Henry
Jan 31, 2017 7:02 AM
Replying to Chandrashekhar Thatte
...
Henry,it is indeed a great effort to produce such an exhaustive list on good practices .I am sure if followed in totality it will pay rich dividends to the party following it on project religiously .It will be much easier to justify and defend legitimate contractual claim/entitlement and prove your point to reject a counter claim .Excellent !
Chandrashekhar

Thank you for your encouragement. Feel free to share all the articles.

Henry
Network:4578
Thanks for sharing, Henry.
Excellent points..
Henry , Great points , please publish this as a blog article if possible
Thanks for sharing
Should have been an article.

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