New Project? Tips On How to Proceed

Beverly B. McMahan CRM, ermm

Group of business associates looking and pointing at a chart put up on the wallRecords and Information Management is changing radically as we speak. As we are working toward better Information Governance in our organizations we are faced with many components to achieve that goal. Most of us are working toward organizing a large amount of electronically stored information while applying best practices processes and procedures to all data – paper as well as electronic.

Whether you are implementing a new Enterprise Content Management program, Records Retention Schedule/File Plan or converting paper documents to digital, how we approach that project, its organization and execution is the biggest challenge of all. Do not short-change yourself rushing to get the project started. Planning the project takes time, meetings with stakeholders/project sponsors, clarifying deadlines, reviewing resources necessary for the project and setting a budget. This planning is very necessary to making the project successful.

Establish what results this project will deliver. Who are the stakeholders? Are they committed to the success of the project? What roles and responsibilities will they each have? Are there time or budget constraints? Be sure to set out a clear, achievable goal and Scope of Work (SOW) which all parties can agree to in advance.

Be honest about the resources required for the project. What will be necessary to start the project and what can be added as the project proceeds? How many people, at what level, at what cost, for how many hours/days/weeks? (Remember – you will never get 8 hrs/day of production from a staff person, it is likely to be 6 ½ or 7 hrs/day. Be sure to also factor in time off for holidays and vacation.) Look at your time line for the project, be realistic; what resources are necessary to begin? What software or hardware will be needed: do you have to purchase additional software licenses; will an upgrade to current hardware be needed; what amount of IT staff will be required (at what cost)?

Newsletter PicA SOW that has specific deliverables will help keep you on track with the project. As the project moves forward, there are always requests to add a little here and there “while you are indexing this set of documents, would you please index the documents in these other 40 files” or “since you are adding several new metadata fields, would you please add a retention trigger”. Accepting these requests into the SOW will require additional time and often more resources. Be sure to have the stakeholders and project sponsors approve any changes/additions to the SOW – GET IT IN WRITING.

Be sure you have regular/weekly reviews of the project status. Are you on schedule, has the new software been installed, have the computer upgrades taken place, how much lost time has there been (who was out sick, who was on vacation?). All these issues have the ability to slow the project and increase costs. Regular/weekly reviews help you keep the project on track and eliminate some of the “scope creep”. Include a budget review as part of these status meetings – costs change and if you are to be help to a specific budget, you will need to know where to adjust costs.

Remember no one has ever gotten in trouble for a project coming in on time and on/under budget.

Good Luck with your project!

Gayle R. Page – President and Primary Consultant

Gayle Page has thirty plus years of experience in Records and Information Management. Her expertise encompasses all aspects of this industry. As a corporate employee she implemented a Records Management department in three companies. She restructured, re-staffed and re-equipped existing records centers to provide more cost effective support for certain corporate functions.

Gayle was an independent consultant for three years prior to forming PacoTech, Inc. in 1988. She has been owner and primary Consultant of PacoTech, Inc. since it’s inception. In that capacity she has interacted with every client and/or potential client. She is always directly involved in the planning and implementation of new projects. Maintaining a connection to the client and project manager after the implementation helps to ensure continued client satisfaction. This involvement is a major contributing factor to our success.

She has been an active member of AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management) since 1980 and ARMA (The Authority on Managing Records & Information) since 1978. Gayle served as President of the Houston Chapter of ARMA in 2005-2006 and of the Southwest Chapter of AIIM in 1987-1988. She serves for the Board Of Trustees for the Alice L. Haltom Educational Fund, a fund supporting the education and advancement of people pursuing Records and Information Management careers.

She has presented at Houston Community College; New Mexico Business Symposium; local and international ARMA conferences and local AIIM seminars. Gayle earned a BBA from Sam Houston State University.


(2003 – Present)

Gayle Page – serves on the Board of Trustees for Alice L. Haltom Educational Fund in numerous positions.


Gayle Page – awarded the Frances Chartier Mentor Award by ARMA Houston Chapter


Gayle Page – awarded the Chapter Member of the Year Award by ARMA Houston Chapter.  Also awarded Newsletter of the Year for Very Large Chapter by ARMA International.



Julie Prochnow, ermm- Director of Operations Consultant

Julie has over twenty years’ experience in the RIM and Information Governance field creating and implementing IG Programs for Oil & Gas, Energy, Local State & Government, and Food Industries.  As the Director of Operations, she has extensive knowledge in retention scheduling, data migrations, imaging technology and creating IG strategies.

Julie has been an active member of ARMA since 1998 where she served on the BOD for the last three years and is currently the Immediate Past President of ARMA Houston Chapter.  She also served on the BOD for Southwest Chapter of AIIM for five years.  Julie earned an Electronic Records Management Masters Certification in 2009.  She earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Houston, College of Technology.




(2010 – Present)

Julie Prochnow – elected to serve on the Board of Director for ARMA Houston Chapter serving in several positions including President of the chapter.


Julie Prochnow – awarded the Distinguished Service Award by ARMA Houston Chapter

Julie Prochnow – appointed to serve on Board of Trustees for the Alice L. Haltom Educational Fund as secretary.


Julie Prochnow – earns AIIM ERMm designation

(2009 – 2013)

Julie Prochnow served as Treasurer on the Board of Directors for AIIM Southwest Chapter


Shirley Birch – RIM Consultant

shirleyShirley Birch has thirty plus years of experience in Records and Information Management. She earned an Information and Records Management degree at North Harris County College, Houston, TX. She has been a RIM Consultant for PacoTech, Inc. for over twenty years.

With more than three decades of records and information experience, she has provided services to major oil and gas corporations, a pharmaceutical company and a law firm. Her primary areas of expertise include Information and Records Management, Mailroom Operation and Facilities. This vast range of exposure allows her the ability to understand various client needs, create/implement programs and promote legal compliance.

A former adjunct faculty member at North Harris County (Lone Star College), she taught Records and Information Management courses. She has been a member of the ARMA chapter and a workshop speaker. She is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Alice L. Haltom Educational Fund, a fund supporting the education and promoting the advancement of individuals pursuing Records and Information Management careers.


(2014- Present)

Shirley Birch – serves on the Board of Trustees for Alice L. Haltom Educational Fund in numerous positions.


Other RIM Staff Consultants

In addition to the staff we have included here, PacoTech, Inc. has several additional RIM staff consultants with long-term experience and expertise. They each have been employed by PacoTech for twenty plus years and are serving in long-term assignments. We can draw on the services and knowledge of these experts at anytime for assistance with a project.

PacoTech, Inc. Professional Affiliations

PacoTech and/or employees are members of the following professional affiliations:

ARMA – The Authority on Managing Records & Information
AIIM – Association for Information and Image Management
ICRM – Institute of Certified Records Managers
WBEA – Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance

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