MDR is probably one of the first acronyms we hear about, when starting a career in Document Control, and more specifically when working in a project environment.
The MDR acronym stands for “Master Document Register” or, to avoid any confusion with other registers, “Master Deliverable Register”.
The MDR is a list of all documentation deliverables
The MDR is basically a list of all the documentation deliverables for a specific project, with additional information on each of these documents, for example:
- Identification information (number, title, discipline, document type)
- Documents status and progress information (revision index, date, status, etc)
- Information on expected delivery dates
- Information on actual delivery dates
The MDR is usually an Excel Spreadsheet
It is usually an Excel spreadsheet as this widely-spread format makes it easy to share information between companies, and it also allows to easily sort, filter, highlight, process the data included in the MDR, both from the Contractor side and the Client Side.
The MDR is a communication document between Contractor(s) and Client
Though the MDR template might be that of the Client, the MDR itself is usually a document owned by the Contractor’s Document Controller.
He/she is usually in charge of updating the MDR and of regularly sending it to the Client: usually on a weekly basis, sometimes (more rarely) on a monthly basis.
In that sense, the MDR can be considered as a communication document between the Contractor(s) and the Client, about the status of project deliverables: here is the list of documents we intend to deliver to you over the course of the project, with an indication on the progress for each one of them.
Upon receipt, it is also the opportunity for the Client’s Document Controller to check the information, and to cross-check whether what is indicated by the Contractor as “issued” as actually been “received” by the Client.
Example of a Master Document Register (MDR)
The MDR helps following up on the progress of the project
The MDR is an essential tool both for the Document Control team and for the Project Management and Project Controls/Services team in general to follow up on the progress of the project and to identify any potential problems as early as possible.
The data from the MDR can be used to identify late documents from the Contractor, late comments from the Clients, lost documents, potential delays with deliverables, and therefore the impact on the project schedule and overall any documentation-related problem for the project.
It is also a document that is used during project progress meetings (both internal and Client/Contractor meetings) to follow up actions on documents and to ensure their progress.
It is one of the key documents on a project, and although it is maintained by Document Controllers, it contains information useful to many other disciplines.
This is why it is also in general a good practice to agree from the beginning of the project on the template, format and periodicity of issuance of this critical document.