Summary: Document Numbering/Configuration, Part 1

Subject: Summary: Document Numbering/Configuration, Part 1
From: Ginna Watts <gwatts -at- QUESTERCORP -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 1998 09:02:40 -0800

Part 1: Contains my summary and brieft analysis
Part 2 : Summary of responses receieved

A while ago I asked for input on people's internal document numbering and/or
configuration management schemes for documents.

I discovered that everyone does something completely different, which is
very interesting. It seems that there can be no *one size fits all* system
for internal document numbering.

My original questions focused on internal systems and whether or not people
were happy with the way they were implemented. Most respondants were
satisfied with the numbering system they used, and reported that the systems
met the needs of their companies.

In brief, systems in use ranged from the very simple (and deliberately so)
to the extremely complex. I will make a (gasp!) gereralization and say that
those who used complex systems seemed to be in engineering companies (which
is more or less what we are). Since few responses mentioned software at all,
(and one as 'software engineering') I will go out on a limb here and suggest
that engineering and research firms are more likely to be practising
configuration management, and therefore need numbering systems.

The analysis:

Our current system for engineering docs uses a slightly complex system
(contract number-document type-sequential number-rev. level). Our 'quality'
document system (internal) uses a different system entirely, based on the
(frankly) obscure sequence in our Quality Manual. Other departments use
variations on the engineering system.

I have decided to make slight modifications to the existing engineering
system, and bring everything else on board. I suspect we'll add a new
section, identifying the class of document (quality, internal, research,
contract, commercial etc.). If it's contract or research, we'll include that
number. We don't have an archivist (just me!), so I think that making only a
minor change will be easiest to implement. We already log everything, and
make the logs available, so the staff is trained to look up the documents by
number anyway.

My thanks to everyone who responded. I'm grateful that I could get this peek
into how some other people accomplish this. It made my decision much easier.
As a company, we're new at this whole CM thing, so it's nice to know we
weren't too far off the mark.

Ginna Watts, Technical Writer
Quester Tangent Corporation
Sidney, BC
gwatts -at- questercorp -dot- com

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