There was a great thread on the Project manager community thread over on Linkedin recently (if your not a member I’d suggest you join the group – it’s a great community). It was titled “What is your most favorite project management document?”.

That’s a great question.

As project managers in the technological age we are blessed with all sorts of tools and techniques at our disposal all aimed at helping us deliver effective projects. However in many cases it’s the humble document or project template that can help make the difference.

Documents store and communicate information – information is one of the core components of projects and therefore effective methods and capturing, storing and communicating is vital.

The answers on the thread were interesting:

  • Project Charters/PID
  • Gantt Charts
  • Progress/status reports
  • Project Management Plans
  • Risk registers & Plans
  • RACI
  • Project glossary’s
  • Change request form

 

As you can see there was a wide spread response. It’s interesting that a lot of the responses talked about the processes that these documents facilitated rather than the documents themselves however one thing the community agreed was that without a suitable set of project documents life would be complicated!

Whatever the size of the project there’s no getting away from the core principles of

  • Capturing information
  • Storing information
  • Communicating information

 

For smaller projects the right approach might be to avoid overwhelming the client, with a simplified set of templates while at the same time using these documents to maintain the discipline and structure required and to ensure the project keeps moving forward.

For larger projects – the right documents are a must as they help enforce process and standards, indeed as one user puts it

“Project documents are like a set of tools, each doing its’ own job, and it would be pointless and rather silly to prefer say a hammer over a saw. “
When we put our package of project templates together we thought long and hard about what templates would be useful but also which ones were crucial to delivering your project, capturing the information that you’d need to help understand what was going on and take action.

We’d love to hear from you and get some feedback about which project documents you think are essential, which ones you use everyday and of course those that you never touch! – feel free to use the comment section below.

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