On a project, we can end up in all sorts of trouble if we have multiple versions of the same document… And then make a mistake about which is current. If we act on out-of-date information, we can easily make a big mistake. So, we need document version control.
But, what is document version control?
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Version control is how we manage multiple variations of the same document.
This lets us keep a clear record of how the document was created, developed, and changed over time. It provides a clear audit trail of:
There are many software solutions that simplify and assure the process. These include:
But I want to stick to the basic principles. Good software will implement these principles and add additional valuable functionality.
Every new version or variation of a document has a new version number and a new name. It should incorporate reference to the version and a date.
My preference is that file names contain:
We keep track of the changes made to each version, the dates, and the status:
My preference is for a Change Control or Tracking table within each document. That table would include:
File storage makes it as easy as possible to find the most recent version and as hard as possible to accidentally mistake a previous version for the current one.
My preference is to implement a suitable software process to support the team and make errors harder to make.
Create a clear version numbering system. My preference is for a three-part system. For example, version 2.03.02.
Carefully curated video recommendations for you:
I asked Project Managers in a couple of forums what material things you need to have, to do your job as a Project Manager. They responded magnificently. I compiled their answers into a Kit list. I added my own.
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Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
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