Spring Cleaning Your Project Archives
Originally Published In IowaBiz.com in April 2008
The requirements and specifications drafted for your project solution.
The minutes from all of those project meetings.
The status reports, drafted weekly.
The change requests, approved or denied.
The project plan.
The business case... or project charter... or statement of work... whatever you use to define the project up front.
What happens to all of these things when you are done with your project? Well, there are a couple of different approaches.
Ending a project is like spring cleaning. Things either get thrown away, go in the garage sale pile, or go into seasonal storage (to be brought out later when needed). Unfortunately, many project managers treat all of the project documentation like one of the first two categories (dispose or never access again) instead of the third.
Saving your project files in an easily accessible location allows reuse for other project managers to learn from you and your project - the good and the bad. It also diminishes rework on future projects. ("Remember that great test plan that Fred wrote last year? Yeah, use that as a template.") You no longer have to reinvent the wheel.
So don't toss that documentation into the spring cleaning bin too quickly. It may be useful after all. Just find a way to store it effectively so others can access it.