As a professional project manager, which area of project management is the most time-consuming and frustrating? Some may say training, others may say dealing with budgets, but it is likely that many would say documentation. Documentation is a crucial area of project management, but is also a very time-consuming, challenging, and immense task. So how can project managers upgrade their documentation skills?
Documenting project management processes isn’t the most exciting part of the job. In fact, it is usually something that project managers put off, especially during peak seasons or during high-risk and high-level projects.
So what are some good ways to keep up with documenting even when there is no time for it?
- Keep a running list of items. Keep a running document or list of items that need to be updated. It can be a brief list with a few notes detailing what needs to be updated and why. This might include processes that have changed or updated, or if team structures have changed, or even trivial items such as phone numbers. Keeping a running document with these changes can save a ton of time and effort from hunting for them when it comes time to update documentation.
- Ask for team feedback. If you have been appointed to update process or project management role documentation, but you are unsure of where to begin or what exactly to update, ask for feedback from your team. Add it to a meeting agenda list for whenever you meet with your team, or call a conference call if you don’t meet on a regular basis.Getting feedback from your team can be extremely valuable because you may not think of all the areas of documentation that may or may not require attention and it will also make team members feel like their input is important and that they themselves are valued as team members.
- Create a home. If you have starting official documentation before but it doesn’t currently “live” anywhere where you or others can access it, then you should consider storing it or utilizing project management software, such as Dropbox, or Google Docs, or even SharePoint. This will make it easier and more organized for project managers and team members alike because it will all be stored in one organized and safe environment.
- Delegate the task. If you don’t have the time to work on any form of documentation at all, delegate the task to a team member. You may be thinking, “if I don’t want or have time for the task, why would anyone else?” This is true, however, there is bound to be at least one person on every time who is good at documenting items and staying organized, and who would volunteer to take on the task. This will also make that particular team member feel valued and appreciated.
These are just some suggestions on how to help project managers and teams deal with the challenging, time-consuming, and daunting task of documentation. Your team may figure in your own techniques, and what works best for your team structure, work load, and schedule. Regardless of what suits your or your team best, it’s always a good idea to keep up with the task of documenting and implement good strategies to do so.