5 Challenges with Email and Correspondence for Project Management

project-managementProject Managers are unique and multifaceted professionals that often understand multiple functions of your organization.

Inherently, the project manager (PM) role coordinates and collaborates with various stakeholders to determine the scope of a specific project that is critical to your business.

Depending on the size and makeup of your organization, these inputs can venture externally as well as span internal departments and functional levels.

Typically, PMs leverage collaborative workspaces and email to communicate project requirements and progress. Providing supporting documentation for project direction is critical to the PM function.

The Top 5 PM Challenges for Managing Correspondence

  1. Volume: 90% of all business correspondence is conducted via email and the email will frequently contain attachments like spec sheets, project plans and timelines
  2. Capture: email is not easily captured or classified to the project workspace or filing system
  3. Asynchronous Workflow/Access: managing project correspondence isn’t automated and emails are not associated with the documents they reference – e.g., all emails and documents stored by Project code 12345
  4. Integration: critical email correspondence isn’t integrated with existing back-end systems
  5. Records Management: all correspondence with project team members and vendors should be considered a business record or document

Integrated Correspondence Management

With the right email management software, PM email correspondence in Microsoft Outlook can be integrated with your document management system, streamlining the process. Email Manager from CMA achieves all of the above.

Instead of the burden falling on the PM to classify and capture each record, Email Manager seamlessly and automatically tracks and stores all electronic correspondence with a simple tagging process—that only needs to be done once, on one email, to tag and capture an entire thread, including emails sent before and after the tagged email.

There are multiple benefits to this integrated correspondence management: contextual referencing for email messages, centralized search, reduced discovery time, increased business continuity, flexibility and more. To further assist you with your planning and evaluation process for email management tools and technologies, we’ve listed some useful information below regarding project document retention guidelines.

Project Management Document Retention Requirements

In our fast paced, and sometime litigious, business culture, “CYA” starts with documentation. Email serves as the medium for documenting what has been said. How long do the emails, and the attachments need to be kept?

Below is a table that illustrates retention requirements for PM documentation:

Records Retention Requirement (years)
Authorities for sale of scrap 3
Bills of material 5
Blueprints 30
Correspondence, engineering & technical 10
Correspondence, production 2
Credit memoranda 5
Credit ratings & classifications 2
Drafting records 8
Draftings & tracings, original Permanently
Inspection records 5
Inventory records 7
Invoice copies 7
Invoices, received 7
Job records 10
Journals Permanently
Ledgers Permanently
Operating reports 10
Order register 6
Production reports 6
Project plans 10
Quality control reports 5
Receipts, delivery 3
Reliability records Permanently
Specifications, customer Permanently
Stores’ issue records 3
Time & motion studies Permanently
Tool control 5
Work orders 5

We recommend that you have your CPA and your attorney review your PM records retention timetable before putting it into practice.

Next Steps

What are you doing within your firm to help project managers integrate, track and archive all of their email and attachments?