How to work effectively within shared folders
When working in shared folders where work is produced with several people collaborating on documents, it is important to be clear about what stage each document is at in terms of completion. Using the working-final-archive method allows several people to work on things and for everyone to be clear as to what is currently in draft format, being worked on still, which the final version is and then archived items for later reference.
Here’s how the working-final-archive system should work:
- Working: Anything you’re currently working on:
All new documents start in the working folder. This folder might contain anything that is still in progress or in draft form. If it is not finished or hasn’t been completed or finalised it stays here. This is also a good place to keep native or source files and background information.
- Final: Anything ready for public consumption:
As soon as you know the document is complete and approved, pop it into the final folder. Don’t put files into the final folder until they’ve been signed off or you are completely happy with them and no more changes will be made to them. This is where everyone will go to for the final approved version of a document and know that it is the correct one to use. There shouldn’t be the need to ask.
- Archive: Anything that doesn’t fit into your working or final folder:
Put your notes, brainstorms, research, and other miscellaneous info in here. Any false starts can be dropped in here too if you change direction mid-project. It is sometimes beneficial to keep documents that you don’t finish or get scrapped – you never know when they might come in handy in future. Don’t clutter up your working folders with files that will never be considered “final”, throw them in the archive instead.
You can use this method in any folder at any level of the filing hierarchy, but for it to work effectively everyone needs to follow the method.
Obviously, this is only one part of how to work with digital folders. If you need help in setting up your digital filing structure as part of your systems and processes, drop me a line and I will have you organised in a jiffy.