Are things always "black or white" in Document Control?


 We live in a very opinionated world, wherein everyone has their opinion about everything and anything, and wherein opposing views appear to be impossible to reconcile.


People tend to see things as “right or wrong”, “true or false”, “real or fake”, “black or white” and very often, it is true that there is reality on one side and falsehood on the other side, it is true that there is a correct answer on one side and incorrect answers on the other side; the remaining question being: which side of the argument is right and which side is wrong?


The world of Document Control is not exempt from this binary stance on matters. For some Document Control professionals, there are the rules on one side, and anything that does not fit on the other side.



Of course, what Document Controller professionals must never compromise on are the Document Control TICCQS values, which ensure that people and organisations are protected.



But, provided that an action complies with the TICCQS values, are things always “black or white”?


Real-life story


Let’s say, for example, that a new document is created but the user is not satisfied with the discipline that Document Control has allocated in the document number. Say that the document numbering structure of that company is:


Department-Discipline-Document Type-Sequential Number.

In this case, the DC allocated the following:

- Department: Business Support Services; 


- Discipline: Finance; 

- Document Type: Report.


But here is the problem: the document was produced by the Big Data Analyst (BDA), which is a position that was just recently created in the company, and which is a profession that did not exist 10-15 years ago; for these two reasons, the document numbering procedure does not have a discipline for anything to do with “Big Data Analysis”. Therefore, the Document Controller selected a discipline that vaguely sounded to be close enough.


A big argument ensues between the Document Controller and the Big Data Analyst (BDA): the DC refuses to deviate from the procedure and the BDA claims that the document is poorly classified and that therefore no one will be able to find it in the system.


The DC and the BDA face a classic “right or wrong” or “black or white” situation and no one is willing to budge.


But in this case, would it not be wiser to officially update the procedure with this new discipline, rather than inaccurately classifying this document?


Of course, the procedure should be updated.


It is not uncommon that inexperienced Document Controllers tend to have a very rigid approach to the rules, which is a good thing, in principle.


However, in certain exceptions, as long as measures are taken to make sure that the TICCQS values are respected, there can be shades of grey.


And in fact, it is a trait of competent professionals to know when to deviate from the procedure and to do so without compromising the TICCQS values.

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Comments: 1
  • #1

    Char (Tuesday, 30 November 2021 13:58)

    Thank you. This hits the point!