Not too long ago, my 10-year-old daughter and I were looking for something in her bedroom. I honestly try to avoid looking for anything in her room: there are half-unpacked backpacks under her bed, shoes with no partners scattered in her closet (no telling where the other shoes are), and I swear there is a pair of underwear and at least one sock in every dresser drawer.
“Casey, how can you find anything in here?” Is my usual protest. Her response is generally along the lines of “Well, I mostly know where things are; I just have to open a few drawers to find them.”
Stay with me…this leads into the topic at hand: electronic file maintenance. What does one messy, disorganized child have to do with our file structure? No matter what you are trying to find—a favorite shirt or an SOP for the COO process—if the system is messy, or if there is a lot of extra clutter, it makes finding the item all that much more difficult.
At some point, our Division is going to be moving to a new database and perhaps a document management system. In order to prepare, I have met with several of you to talk about our electronic filing structure and to understand the current state of it. My overall impressions are that people generally know where things are in their own filing tree, but if they have to go outside of their own program, they do not always know where to look and so a lot of time is wasted. In addition, most people agree that it is a good idea to routinely clean-up and organize their files, but few actually have the time to do so.
In order to assist with this conundrum, we are developing a plan to help teams clean-up their electronic files. The plan is still in the early stages, so please stay tuned, and let me know if you have any questions or concerns!