By month three, everyone is uncomfortable. Don’t take it personally, but do manage it. This is no time to slow down. Doggedly move forward.

Time to Make the Donuts

The work continues. Every evening you prepare for tomorrow’s meetings. Thanks to these meetings, word is spreading about the initiative. Your executives are paying attention to the project and asking good questions. Your long week is a positive.

Well, almost a positive. Monitor your communication paths. Remember that old standby formula, “N(N-1)/2” (where N = # of project team members). Prepare yourself for backlash whispered amongst your analysts and managers. If you don’t hear of any backlash, your executive sponsor may be protecting you. Remember to ask them, “What are you hearing?” Compare notes.

Meanwhile, you are at least half way through your information mapping process. Information mapping is the “who-what-when-where-why” of object discovery that will help you create records (review, maintain, declare and delete) protocols. The exercise of information mapping requires significant metadata (and/or possibly object) review prior to the meeting. You’re codifying what records and information (RIM) exists where, how often they’re shared and by who.

As you compose maps, don’t worry if you revisit them several times. Solicit more inputs as necessary from the colleague(s) opposite you. The map will prompt them to rethink, include more or reorder their business process tasks.

As a result of these maps, you’re creating as-is and to-be states of RIM while cross-referencing thousands of information capillaries. Leverage them; highlight their usefulness to Information Technology in identifying old storage locations of legacy data, for example. Present them to department heads from a right-brain and left-brain perspective. Never forget: your goal is to create consumers of these maps. It doesn't matter what they're using them for as long as they're using them.

I Made the Donuts

You meet yourself coming and going at this stage of the project. You've planned enough; it's time to meet with all project participants.

Don't forget to take full advantage of the time with your colleagues. Kick-off the meeting with an explanation of the entire project followed quickly by a review of the object destruction worksheets. Explain the concept of “garbage in-garbage out.” Highlight the objects eligible for destruction. Maintain a tally of objects approved for destruction out of the total objects by the object creator. Identify and monitor the colleagues most likely to delete objects of their own volition versus your formal destruction process. Automate destruction approval as much as you can. Build approval workflows in SharePoint, for example.

It's Worth the Trip

The objectives of this phase are to delete unnecessary objects, describe records flows, architect the records repository and physically manifest the records flows in production. Summarize all interviews. Remember to update your project file. Verify your schedule. What is soon to impact your critical path? Is the Information Technology team fully versed on the repository architecture? What architectural impediments prohibit repository creation? Are your records protocols created, fully vetted, and approved?

Next: creating the records training labs.

Editor's Note: Need to catch up on Mimi's ERM Journal? Start here: An Electronic Records Management Implementation Journal: Month One