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The entry of new people to the Document Controller profession was the topic of recent discussion in the LinkedIn Document Control Specialist group. Comments focused on the level of training and experience one should have before their peers consider them a true Document Controller. The overwhelming comment was that some managers view “Document Control” as a clerical function that anyone can do with little training. Document Control specialists who weighed in on the discussions assert that it takes several years on the job to become proficient. Two key reasons why employees with office clerical skills are “thrown into” document control workgroups are:

  1. There are more projects than people available to service larger project teams, and
  2. A hiring freeze hiring requires employees with little training be delegated work in Document Control

Document Control veterans who commented in the Document Control Specialist group said new people placed into the group do not fully understand the implications of certain decisions a Document Controller must make each day. Many believe this often becomes problematic since inexperienced people can miss important steps in critical document control processes, detrimentally affecting their projects. Some Document Control specialists suggested that industry should view stages of development for a document controller and apply more stringent training requirements. Suggestions for training requirements included,

  • Junior or Assistant Document Controllers should have at least 3 years’ experience
  • Intermediate Document Controllers would need 3 to 7 years’ experience
  • Senior Document Controllers would require at least eight to years 10 years

New people who come into a Document Control group often have computer skills that are better than some of the senior people already in the group. What the new people might lack is a thorough understanding of the document life cycle process and the need to be diligent following the practices and procedures in place. The veteran Document Control professionals can help the new people understand the “Why” of the role since the new Document Control workers can usually learn the more technologically aligned “What” aspect of the job quickly. Technology helps the Document Control professionals by,

  • Making it much easier for people who do not work in that profession to acquire the documents and information they need.
  • Automating many of the formerly manual processes so the career Document Control specialist has the time to mentor newcomers to the profession.

The astute DC professional will realize that he or she can teach the new people the ‘”why” of the role so they can be prepared to support project issues they encounter in their career. Do you have similar concerns about the level of experience someone entering your Document Control group should have before you feel that person can do it on their own? How do you integrate new people into the Document Control role at your company?