Re: Internal Document numbering

Subject: Re: Internal Document numbering
From: Janet Valade <janetv -at- MAIL -dot- SYSTECH -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 30 Mar 1998 08:35:07 -0800

> One observation, in evaluating the way numbers have been assigned
> withing various projects in the company, is that it is futile to set
> up
> a scheme of any sort
deleted stuff
> ...
> The problem with trying to get more information into the doc number is
> that you eventually get down to a level where only one person
> understands the scheme and that person eventually moves on to another
> position.
Just a few comments on this. Here, I am the document control person who
assigns part numbers. I have been here about a year and acquired the
document control function about six months ago. Prior to me, there was
one person who did it for many years, then a temporary person did it for
a few months. Then I became responsible for the system and data entry
without anyone to show me the way. I have developed my own system, based
on the documented procedures I could find, looking at what was done with
existing parts, and punting. I found that even during the time the
single person was responsible, practices either changed over time or
were inconsistent from the beginning. If you are going to have a
complicated system, investing each part number digit with significance,
you must document the system thoroughly, in detail, and keep the
documentation updated. And I still think it is probably futile, or at
least pointless. No one remembers these subtle distinctions in the part
numbers. If someone wants to know what a part is, they still look up
the description for the part number anyway. It's hard enough just to
remember the highest level categories, e.g., documentation, drawings,
firmware, top assemblies, etc.

Even the highest part number level seems to cause problems. Our
documents come in two flavors: 79- and 80-. The 79s are supposed to be
internal documents, e.g., test procedures and reports, specs, etc. The
80s are supposed to be documents that could be available for customers.
Even at this level, I find documents that appear to me to be the same
type of document in both the 80s and 79s. Sometimes the engineer is
unable to answer me regarding whether a document would ever be given to
a customer. So, I don't find this distinction to be of practical value.
Perhaps it is more clearcut in other organizations.

Janet Valade
Technical Writer
Systech Corp., San Diego, CA
mailto:janetv -at- systech -dot- com

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