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5 tips to organize your

document folders

Tips to keep your folder structure organised 

Productivity and organization walk together in a project. A well-thought structure of your files and folders is not only important for yourself but even more if you work with shared folders. Many projects such as the Horizon2020 research project run up to 5 years. But how to create a folder structure that includes every key activity of your project and stay organized at the same time?

 

TIP 1 

Add numbers to your folders

It is very helpful to number the folders. This will allow an easy sorting of folders.  

 

TIP 2 

Create the structure of your folders following the key management activities that your project has. 

 

Every project has some management pillars that are the basis for all the other activities. Below, you can see the main management topics that almost every Horizon 2020 project contains. These main folders worked pretty well for the project management of our projects:

01-Contracts

02-Finances

03-Reporting 

04-Deliverables

05-Meetings

06-Communication 

07-Miscellaneous

 

TIP 3 

Minimize complexity
 

Every key management activity has its own sub-topics to be maintained and developed. So in the third step, your task is to map these areas inside your key activities and create a folder for each one. If you are managing a Horizon 2020 research project see the example below. As rule of thumb try to not exceed 10 subfolders per folder and do not set up more than three level of folders. If your folder structure is getting bigger try to merge folders. And do not forget to make use of the archive folder in every folder and move old versions of files to this archive. 

 

TIP 4 

Create a standard for naming folders and documents in your project.

 

Naming convention for files 

  1. Use dashes between words, not spaces.  

  2. Keep file names short, but meaningful.  

  3. If using a date in the file name always state the date ‘back to front’ and in this format: YYYY or YYYYMM or YYYYMMDD.  

  4. In case the are two version on the same date add V2 or version2 etc. 

  5. When including a number in a file name always give it as a two-digit number rather than one. 

  6. Always add the project name. People usually work on multiple project. This will allow any easy identification. 

 

As an example:

Number-project-title-YYYYMMDD-V2 

Example: 01-bestproject-budget-20191202 

 

TIP 5 

Communicate it! 

It makes not a lot of sense if you have set up the best folder structure and file naming system but no one in your team or project knows about it. If you have a project management meeting, add some instructions or rules to your slides. Or if you have some project guidances add your instructions.