In traditional development projects, a comprehensive documentation footprint is seen as a good risk reduction strategy. If you want efficiency, however, agility is key.
When it comes to project management, there is such a thing as too many documents. Relying on stacks of paperwork reduces your ability to adapt to any changes that come your way. But agility can be implemented in every area of your project – including your documentation strategy – which will ultimately increase the value of the product you deliver.
In a nutshell, an agile document management system is a living knowledge base. It organises all your project documentation, promotes collaboration, and encourages discussion amongst your teams, making it a great alternative to traditional systems.
In this blog, we’ll explore the advantages and challenges of going agile with your documents, and explain how you can get started in setting up an agile document management system.
What is agile document management?
Agile methodology revolves around eliminating processes that don’t add value to the end result. If you apply this to document management, agile documentation eliminates any documents which don’t add this value.
In agile documentation, you only produce documents that you need, and make them as concise as possible. This will free up more of your team’s time to focus on development, while still providing a clear record of your work.
A good document management system will store all your project documents in the cloud so your team members can access them easily. This helps enhance agility by promoting communication and feedback among team members.
Benefits of an agile document management system
Access your documents anywhere
Gone are the days of fragmented desktop applications to store and retrieve documents. With a cloud document management system, you can access your documents anywhere, from any device. Documents can be stored in most standard file formats, including Word, Excel and PDF.
Track changes with version control
With multiple team members working on your project, tracking document changes is a major concern. With an agile document management system, you can see what’s changed, as well as roll back changes, via in-built version control functionality.
Version control allows your teams to track and roll back document changes
Flexible access control
Strong document governance policies are, of course, essential to your project. With an agile document management system, you’re able to control access to your documents on a user, group, or organisation level. You can also track the chain of accountability for your documents, and address any issues promptly.
Challenges of an agile document management system
Because traditional documentation is based on static reporting, agile teams may struggle to shift their mindsets to a reporting style that’s light and dependent on feedback. Agile project requirements are constantly shifting during the project life cycle, so it may be difficult to standardise reporting.
Ultimately, though, your agile document management system is there to enhance your workflow, not hinder it. Because of its flexibility, you’re free to experiment with it and build a strategy that works for your business.
How to build an agile document management system
Collaboration and flexibility are at the heart of agile development. Look for a system that provides solid tools for collaboration and feedback. Also, look for a system that can host multiple file types, and makes it easy for your team to find and view the information they’re looking for.
Here are a few features to look out for:
– Cloud access via a standard web browser and mobile
– Support for multiple logins
– Support for multiple file types
– Powerful search feature
– Change history and version control
– Sharing and discussion features
An agile document management system removes inefficiencies while still providing your project team with the information they need to function effectively. Implemented in the right way, an agile document methodology is an asset to your project team, freeing their time so they can focus on the work at hand, which is to deliver a successful project on time and in budget.