Version Control

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I had a very odd situation today wherein a co-worker told me that it was now considered “old-fashioned” to use major/minor versions in document management. I’ve never heard this before in my life. This person has experience in document control in manufacturing, but not document/records management in general. I do know that Rev (Revision) letters are more common in manufacturing, but I don’t see how this applies to all document management, and I certainly don’t see how either could be “old-fashioned.” I was perplexed enough by this statement that I thought I would ask if anyone has heard this before?

Thanks for your thoughts!

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Joanna Crump, MS, MLIS
Document Control Specialist
Biamp Systems
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Sounds like you might have had a “Millennial moment”, LOL!��

Seriously, have not heard that from anyone previously.  Maybe I just need more facetime (couldn’t resist given the context!) with the 20-something crowd….

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Haha! Both she and I have been around the sun a few times, so while I would like to call it a Millennial Moment, I don’t think I can. I am really scratching my head over this one!

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Joanna Crump, MS, MLIS
Document Control Specialist
Biamp Systems
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Joanna –

I’ve not heard that either — actually it runs counter to best practices.  My favorite thing to say to people in that context.  “I’d love to learn more about why you believe that.  Can you point me to a resource?”

Most of the time, this make people respond with “Well, I just think it is.”  Then I say “I’d love to learn more.  Please keep an eye out for things that support your position.”  Frequently that’s the last interaction we have on the topic.

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Robert Bogue
President
Thor Projects LLC
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Thank you all for your responses! After giving it more thought, I’m pretty sure this person was just feeling defensive about a particular SharePoint library that she had created and felt ownership over. Rob, you hit the nail on the head. What I see over and over is that SharePoint responsibilities are doled out with no training or guidance whatsoever on document management best practices.

Thanks again!


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In defense of your lonely co-worker, I have an idea that might explain the statement, now that the magic word “SharePoint” was mentioned.

As I understand it, in SharePoint Online, Teams and OneDrive for Business, real-time co-authoring or just collaborative document creation, especially with the auto-save function turned on, are largely incompatible with minor versioning, as it is applied in SharePoint.

Standard practice (I didn’t say “best”) is for only major versioning to be turned on by default, no check-out, 500 version initial limit with a max of 50,000.  If you have minor versions in SharePoint, only the author and approver can see and edit those versions, cutting the rest of the team out until each minor version is promoted.  You can give other team members read-only access to minor versions.  That may be necessary in certain highly controlled environments, but not the norm for many team-based businesses where controlling who gets read vs. edit permissions gets in the way of getting work done.  Rob Bogue is far more expert on things SharePoint and may wish to correct me on this.

Finally, I wouldn’t be too harsh with your co-worker.  When anyone invokes “best practices,” they rarely can justify why it’s “best,” and likely have no objective basis for naming it so.  It may simply be a collective judgment that it works most of the time for many types of organizations.  With the possible exception of the Ten Commandments, I expect most “best practices” lists could be questioned as to whether they really apply to all circumstances, all the time.

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Joel Markowitz
Asst. Director, Technology Services
Metro. Transp. Comsn.
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There was a time not to long ago when publishing was the domain of technical writers, adherence to major/minor version control rules was not left to the masses.

Those old-fashioned days are not entirely over but the line has most definitely moved.  A tutorial on version control best practices especially those codified into corporate guidelines and policies should be mandatory for anyone given publishing rights.

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Rob Doucette
Business Systems Manager
Blanchard Machinery
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“not too long ago …”

Sorry, no coffee yet.

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Rob Doucette
Business Systems Manager
Blanchard Machinery
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