Many years ago, near the end of a job interview, the interviewer asked me “How many people I had worked for?” I wondered for a moment if he was serious before calmly answering, “Two”. Seeing the puzzled look on his face, I proceeded to explain that one of the ‘two people’ I worked for knew exactly what I did and the other did not. Since neither of these two people received complaints from any of our clients about the work I did, both individuals supported me 100%. He smiled, wrote down my response, and offered me the job. Although the job was not for a Document Controller position, the DC role is often misunderstood and some Document Controllers might sometimes feel they work for one of these people.
Some managers do not know exactly what a Document Control Specialist does and perhaps consider the role to be 99% clerical work. What a put down! There are likely many reasons for them to think this way but perhaps one recurring reason is that they might still need to go to ‘you’ to find out the status of a document or ask you where they can find it. You have ‘pushed’ paper and electronic files before and always managed to find ‘what they were looking for’. Much like either of the two manager types I mentioned above, by giving them the information they need makes them support you even though they may not always understand exactly what you do or how you do it. So let me ask, “Why do they come to you looking for a document status or to find a document?” Is it because your systems and procedures are so esoteric that only you and your Document Control colleagues know how to find the information they are looking for? Is it because you do not allow anyone but your team members to use your system because they might ‘break it’? Based upon some Document Controller forums in LinkedIn and other platforms, the view that the role is heavily clerical appears to be a more common concern than one would imagine.
On the other side of the coin, are there times when you have problems finding documents and their status? Perhaps the list and spreadsheet tracking the project team used for many projects in the past is beginning to fail as projects and document count gets larger. As an experienced Document Controller, do you occasionally find yourself in a position where some project team member, perhaps even your manager, is looking for information that you cannot easily find it? So long as these people can go to you to get the information they need, they might be happy most of the time. Now let me ask, “Can they find this information on their own?” If the answer is ‘no’ or a barely qualified ‘yes’, perhaps one day these people might want to implement procedures they feel will fix a situation you know is not broken. There are ways to avoid having someone fix a system that is not broken.
DocBoss can help you, your Document Control colleagues, the project team AND your manager. Finding the status of that one document among the thousands you handle will no longer be the formidable task some managers believe it to be today. DocBoss can make your life as a Document Control Specialist easier and you can allow other members of the Project Team to use it too. Newer people to your DC team will also be able to find the information they need without having to ask for your assistance each time. DocBoss does not make you redundant… it helps give you back the time you need to ensure your project document control skills are used effectively to make the project run better. This is one way you can help those who might view your role as being overly clerical better understand the work you do.