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Subject: Re: agency re-organization and RM Issues
From: Maarja Krusten <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Records Management Program <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 14 Mar 2005 16:14:25 -0500

text/plain (56 lines)

Hi, Elizabeth!

Your posting made me start thinking about research 30 or 50 years from now.

As a Federal historian, I have a question for you regarding the functional records schedule you developed 7 years ago.  Actually, since you're describing the records of a non-Federal entity, not all of my concerns would apply to your situation.  But still, I thought I'd ask you and the List in general.  How many cross references and links did you provide in the revised schedule to the schedule that immediately preceded that one?  Did you do a crosswalk between the old schedule and the new one?  Did you keep a copy of the crosswalk?  Does your organization keeps copies of all the previously issued records schedules?  Now, when your organization re-organizes, what documents show the shifting of responsibilities and functions, since schedule revisions would not reflect that as much as unit-based schedules would?

The reason I ask is, as a historian, I've found that older style unit based schedules can provide useful information about how an organization operated say 30 years ago.  Obviously, historians need to understand departmental organization in order to figure out where in retired or NARA-accessioned records to look for older documents, say ones from 30 or 50 years ago.  Or to work up lists of oral history interview questions when interviewing elderly retirees.  Knowing something about the old set-up from various sources, such as a records schedule, is helpful.  In doing my research, I've relied on all sorts of old hard copy library materials, including agency telephone directories from the 1960s, directives, and records schedules.  Now, telephone directories usually are web based.  A lot of information that used to be available in hard copy and linked to a specific issue date is being handled very differently.

While I understand the benefit to records managers of moving to broader, functional schedules, I'm curious as to how organizations that are using functional schedules are capturing the broad scope of organizational information  who did what, who was in charge as of what date, etc.  that has been useful to historians in the past.


>>> [log in to unmask] 3/14/2005 3:23:05 PM >>>
You have quite a job ahead of you.  We are a sizable government contractor that reorganizes frequently, usually due to budget cuts and personnel reductions. In the 18 years I've been with this contractor, we have reorganized more times than I care to count.  The constant updates to documents to accommodate reorgs drove us records and document control people crazy. Here are two changes I made that help the company stay organized and productive during reorgs.

The biggest (and hardest) improvement I made at our company 7 years ago was to: 1) break the entire company down into "functions" that are independent of departmental or organizational structures, and 2) developed clear records inventory and disposition schedules (RIDS) for all record and non-record documents in all media based on those functions.  Since we are a management and operations contractor with an extensive range of contract responsibilities, we had 63 separate operational (maintenance, construction, engineering, etc.) and administrative (personnel, payroll, travel, etc.) "functions" located under 8 directorates and 25 departments.  Now, when we reorganize, nothing changes except the department name and manager that has been designated to assume oversight of the various functions impacted by the reorg. I don't have to update RIDS to move documents from one department to another because the records are tied to a functional process, not a specific department.  The new departments/managers review the existing RIDS for the functions they have inherited to learn what documents (both record and non-record) for which they are now responsible and accountable. Everyone else in the function continues to do exactly what they did before, with the exception that they sometimes do it in a different building or on a different floor, they have a different department name, and they answer to a different manager.  OK... So they don't do EXACTLY what they did before.... but the business process does not change, nor do the documents and records associated with it.

We are currently developing cross-functional business process flowcharts from a high-level company perspective all the way down to a detailed work instruction level.  By checking the cross-functional map for functional responsibilities, hand-offs and deliverables BEFORE reorganizations occur, it is easy to spot which functions will be impacted by the reorganization and how they will be impacted, allowing us to eliminate problems before they occur.  This works only if you define and develop functions first.  If not, your business process flowcharts will be cross-departmental instead of cross-functional, and will need to be revised every time the company reorganizes.

Hope this helps!

Elizabeth Laiche
Records/Document Control Manager
DynMcDermott Petroleum (DOE SPR Contractor, New Orleans)

-----Original Message-----
From: Records Management Program [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Aquino-Perez, Ana
Sent: Friday, March 11, 2005 5:52 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: agency re-organization and RM Issues

We are going to be going through a major reorganization in our agency shortly and I want to make sure that records management (rm) is being addressed as we move forward with the reorganization.

If you have gone through this process in your companies/agencies (and even if you haven't and have good recommendations) can you tell what were the major and your most critical RM issues that you faced as you reorganized and how did you solved them? What other issues I should keep in mind and bring forward to my management for consideration?  What could be any developing issues or policy questions that may need to be addressed? Do any of you have any service level agreements that you have develop for your rm services in your organziation?

RM has resurfaced as a high priority in the process.  Whatever I bring forward will be considered as part of the RM implementation plan for the reorganization. This is a major opportunity for me to bring RM to the forefront and I want to take advantage of it.

Any help and information you can provide will be much appreciated. Please, reply directly to my email address. Thanks much! Ana Aquino-P*rez Records Officer 4802 Sheboygan Ave Rm. 751 PO Box 7915 Madison, WI 53707
Tel.: 608-266-5290
Fax: 608-267-4892
E-mail: [log in to unmask]
"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

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