Problem: Lack of name details on project records
Saving time in projects is critical, yet identifiable names are often missing on project documents. Project records often don’t have people’s full name, role and department on them.
In many meetings, and on many documents, people sign with just their initials, or their first name initial and their surname. This often means it is difficult to identify the person later.
Project managers often waste a lot of time trying to authenticate documents or approvals. This is especially the case when it comes to finding the person who made a comment, note or approval in a meeting or on a document. For example, to clarify an item in the document or from the meeting records.
I have worked on projects where, because meeting attendance sheets only had peoples initials, I had to spend many hours tracking down those people to get further answers.
Many times I have also seen design drawings with the design engineer and drafter names listed with just initials, or inital and surname. It meant that I could not identify who the designer was, and in some instances required redesign of the drawing because no one could be found to answer why things were drawn that way.
Solution: Require full name and details
Require (and ensure) that people write their full name (first and last name, not just initials) when recording their attendance at meetings, signing documents, giving approvals etc.
Examples of this include:
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- Meeting attendance
- Approval of a document
- Records on drawings of the designer and drafter (these are often recorded with just initials)
- Author of documents
- Project change records
To encourage people to do this properly, I suggest that each attendance, form, and signature box state “full name” instead of just “name”.
This is part of being prepared when going to meetings.
I think you should also collect the persons title, role, and department, and company if there are multiple companies involved.
A Bad Example:
Which will often lead to people writing J. Doe
A Good Example:
At the top of the sheet:
- Meeting title / purpose
- Date and time
- Organiser / chair
For each attendee:
- Full Name:
- Title / Role:
- Company / Organisation
- Phone number:
- Email address:
Which should lead to much more informative results like:
- Full Name: John Doe
- Title / Role: Lead civil designer
- Department: Dams and Bridges
- Company: XYZ Design Company
- Phone number: 123456789
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Signature: John Doe
A couple of sources to get simple attendance sheets are:
Microsoft Office: https://templates.office.com/en-au/meeting-sign-in-sheet-tm02807582
Identifiable names on project records are important.
Ensure you get the full name (not just initials) on all project records. This includes meeting attendance, approval of documents, design and drawing records and any other document where you record a person’s name . This will help you identify those people later and will save time when trying to get further information or when you need to authenticate agreements.
Sometimes even more importantly, it can allow you and other stakeholders to clearly know who signed approval on a document, drawing, or deliverable. This will help you meet legal obligations related to proving who designed something, who reviewed those designs, and who approved it for construction.
Doing something as simple as this could save you a lot of time as the project manager. It can also save a lot of time for the rest of the project team.
I often ask myself (and others around me if they will listen) why are there just initials on this drawing or on this document. How am I supposed to know who this person is?
Don’t let that be the case for you.