RE: Doc version control--in house

Subject: RE: Doc version control--in house
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: David Neeley <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 2010 13:39:41 -0400

David Neeley [mailto:dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com] recommended:
> To some extent, it sounds like what you are seeking is a piece of
> software that automates what a project manager generally does. Unless
> I am misunderstanding your setup, it also sounds as if you may have as
> much a problem of management as you do with process control. Any
> software will not eliminate that kind of issues.
> That said, I think you should take a look at Alfresco:
> They have both a free, open source community edition and paid
> enterprise licenses with full support. Alfresco was founded by folks
> who were prime movers in products like Documentum, but Alfresco is
> somewhat better while being less costly.
> As it happens, I did projects in several companies that had issues
> that sounded like some of what you are facing. At one of them, it was
> such a snake pit that I wound up having the requirements document
> physically signed off by everyone with a stake in it, then I laminated
> the pages so there could be no question that the original was, in
> fact, exactly what was agreed upon! Later,it proved an extremely
> valuable CYA document for several individuals involved. Previously, on
> other projects, requirements changed precipitously but it was the
> workers who were fired even if they had nothing to do with or weren't
> even informed of some rather dumb changes. This time, it was a vice
> president who wound up getting the axe, much to the relief of all and
> sundry as he had been the source of an amazing amount of problems for
> a very long time.

No snake pits here. It's actually quite an enjoyable place
to work, with a good and willing gang of people all pulling
in more-or-less the same direction.

We're actually doing quite well, given that we have to be
adaptable in a competitive marketplace. The problems are the
kind that you _like_ to have:

a) our business is growing nicely

b) our workforce is growing and people are being promoted
into and out of positions

c) we've grown by acquisition, as well as in organic fashion,
so we have inherited several ways of doing things, and are
attempting to keep the best practices while leaving the rest
(cherry picking)

d) we're dealing more and more with big spenders that demand
certain certifications and validations.

All together, this points to automation and extremely reliable
and accessible audit trails.

You are correct that a lot of this is what a project manager
generally does. When you automate the tedious and repetitive
parts of anybody's job, that leaves the parts that require
(allow?) drive, ingenuity, etc. You WANT your project
managers to be able to keep the big picture in view and
not get bogged down by the niggling details - but you need
those niggling details to be watched/followed/enforced.

I'd just like to avoid buying into some enormous, and enormously
expensive enterprise system that purports to do it all, while
being standards-compliant, yet mysteriously needs all sorts of
frighteningly expensive "customization" followed by hideously
expensive ongoing maintenance... all in addition to horrendously
pricy seat licenses.

I should say, it wouldn't be _me_ buying into anything, but
if a word in the right ear or two could nudge the movers
and shakers to try something that's good value, ready to
go (or straightforward to configure/customize), does
everything we need and much that we want. . . and doesn't
break the bank. . . there'd be a certain satisfaction in that.

Alfresco, huh?
You tempt me strangely. :-)

- K

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Re: Doc version control--in house: From: David Neeley

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