(The Manage Project Artifacts task is a small and straightforward component. All it really involves is understanding that project managers should know how to use document management, version control and audit trails for project documents, plans and deliverables.
If you use these tools in your daily work, you should have no problem answering questions relating to this topic. If your organization does not use configuration management or version control for its artifacts, make sure you understand the concepts and terminology.)
Project artifacts are any document, model or design related to the management of your project. As projects progress, your team will create many artifacts during the life of the project.
These artifacts are “living documents,” which means they evolve to reflect changes in the project. (They are not static, one-off documents like meeting minutes that do not update as later changes occur.)
Project artifacts need configuration management and version control applied to them. This is so changes can be tracked and information can be retrieved at any time for your project needs or to share with other projects.
2.12.1 Determine the Requirements for Managing the Project Artifacts
Including the What, When, Who, etc.
There are many plans, documents and models that make up the artifacts managed on a project. Some common ones include:
- Acceptance criteria
- Business case
- Change requests
- Decision records
- Defect reports
- Economic models
- Lessons learned
- Project charter
- Project management plans
- Slide decks
- Risk logs
- Scope documents
- Subsidiary project management plans
Artifacts more associated with agile projects include:
- Product backlog
- Product increment
- Product roadmap
- Product vision statement
- Release plan
- Sprint backlog
- Task boards
- Team experiments
2.12.2 Validate that the Project Information is Up to Date and Accessible
Use version control and ensure the project information is accessible to all valid stakeholders.
All these artifacts need to be stored securely, tracked and version controlled. Luckily, tools to perform these tasks are commonplace today and easier to use than ever.
Configuration management – is the process of managing changes to a product or service being created. We can also use configuration management systems to store, track and control our project artifacts.
Configuration management tools help:
- Control the steps for reviewing and approving product prototypes, testing criteria, and designs, plans and blueprints.
- Control product iterations and versions
- Ensure that product specifications are current
Version control – A system that records changes to a file to retrieve previous modifications made to it. Version control systems also store additional information, such as who made the change. This way, they can perform the following services:
- Each time the file is changed, it is automatically saved and assigned a new version number
- Changes are given a date/time stamp along with the name of the user who made the changes. This creates a digital log of the artifacts’ history.
- Most project management systems contain version control for essential artifacts such as the project management plans and other vital documents.
2.12.3 Continually Assess the Effectiveness of the Management of the Project Artifacts
It is one thing to have version control and configuration management systems; it is another thing entirely to know they work as you intended. Do not assume everything is configured correctly and storing the data you need without checking your ability to roll back a version or report on who last changed a file and what that change was. We need to have robust and reliable storage and retrieval systems.
Storage/Distribution of Artifacts
- Artifacts should be accessible to everyone who use them
- The system should suit the project’s complexity—small projects do not need a complex system that would be better suited for a large project.
- Cloud-based document storage and retrieval systems are appropriate for larger projects, especially geographically distributed team members
- Features of commercial systems typically include:
- Version control
- Document check-out and check-in
- User-based security
- Email notification to specified people when an artifact is created or edited
Tips for Managing Project Artifacts
- Adopt a rigor of artifact management appropriate for your project. Safety and mission-critical projects require much more care and control than small, trivial projects. Do not use a one-size-fits-all approach.
- Learn about your organizational standards for artifact management, documentation, and audit requirements.
- Ensure the system you use has version control so you can revert back to previous versions of artifacts if needed.
- Spread the knowledge to your team, so everyone knows about the requirements for artifact management and how to correctly use the tools and systems involved.
Deliverables and Tools
- Project Artifacts
- Configuration management tools
- Version control systems
- 1.12 Define Team Ground Rules
- 2.9 Integrate Project Planning Activities
- 2.10 Manage Project Changes
- 2.14 Establish Project Governance Structure
- 2.16 Ensure Knowledge Transfer for Project Continuity
- 2.17 Plan and Manage Project/Phase Closure or Transitions
- 3.1 Plan and Manage Project Compliance
- 3.3 Evaluate and Address External Business Environment Changes
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