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The Project Repository (Practical Project Management Series)

This is a ‘blog’ article by Lex van der Heijden regarding practical Project Management. For questions/remarks I’m available via [email protected] or via LinkedIn (nl.linkedin.com/in/lexvanderheijden/).

This time the subject is the ‘project repository’.

The project repository is the conscience of the project both during execution as well as after the project has been finished. This implies that nobody who is involved in this project is allowed to have any documents, etc. only stored on a local device such as a laptop. The only right source is the project repository!

In case an integrated Project Management suite is being used the project repository is part of this environment. However, it is still crucial that all documents, etc. are stored in this environment. This is the responsibility of the Project Manager. Integrated Project Management environments have normally also version control which enables the users to trace all versions of documents (change management).

Nowadays many cloud based solutions are being offered. I would like to make a number of remarks regarding this type of solution:

  1. An important question in this context is where the cloud is physically operational. When this is in the USA the American ‘patriot act’ is applicable. This means that the American Government has access to the data stored in the cloud by law.
    It is very well possible that sensitive personal information has been stored in the project repository. The problem that might rise now is that this might caise a conflict with the local legislation of the country where the work is being performed.
  1. A requirment is that all stakeholders have an Internet connection otherwise they don’t have access to the cloud. More and more projects are being executed by means of virtual teams dispersed over a number of countries. What is the quality of these Internet connections (speed, reliability and security) at these remote locations?
  1. What are the costs of the project repository taking into account one time costs and recurring costs? Pay attention to the number of users and duration during which the cloud data must be accessible.
  1. How have the ‘back-ups’ been arranged? How often, when is a back-up made and how far in time can you get back? Are the back-ups physically stored at a different location?
  1. How good is the project repository secured (eg. encrypted) and isolated from other users of other project repositorys? Has the managing organisation a formal certification regarding privacy, etc.? What is the liability of the supplier in case unauthorised actions have been taken?
    What is stored in the log files and who has access to these log files?
  1. Is it possible to define different types of users having access to particular parts of the project repository (eg. financial and contract data only by management)?
  1. Is it possible to define the structure of the project repository by the users?
  1. Many clouds are accessible by means of ‘web browsers’ and require no local installation of software. What clouds might demand however is particular ‘web browser’ settings otherwise the solution might not properly function. This is caused by limitations of the web browser settings on the local device. Many, especially big companies, have limited the web browser settings for security reasons which might cause issues regarding the cloud solution. It is advisable to define a testperiod before the final decision is being made whether or not the particular cloud solution will be implemented.

Finally a few tips regarding the project repository in general:

  1. Give more than one person ‘administrator’ rights in order to prevent issues in case the main administrator is absent (for instance adding/removing users).
  1. Quite often it is forgotten what to do with the project after the project has been finished. First of all companies in the Netherlands are required by law to store data during 7 years. The project repository can be considered to be part of this as well.
    Secondly in case a client wants to know something particular of the project, or even worse the client wants to raise a claim, the data needs to be available. You are having big issues as company when the project repository is not available any more.Transfer as Project Manager the project repository to eg. a Project Management Office and give this organisation access to the project repository based on roles and not based on persons. Remove access of all other persons having access to the project repository during project execution.
  2. Who takes care of the costs of having the project repository available after the project has been closed? These costs can be absorbed in the operational costs of the Project Management Office for instance.

The next time I’ll describe ‘human resource management’.