Target Practice

By Mimi Dionne posted 04-15-2011 02:28


Last week I posted an *early, unused draft* visualizing an approach to the difference between legal citations and best practices.

Hi, my name is Mimi, and I am obsessed with improving retention schedule design. 

But the objective of posting the graphic was not to confuse you—no, the objective was to show we Records Managers can improve our skills sets. We must design for a more sophisticated audience than ever before.  I ain’t skeered of this audience, and I ain’t afeared to show my early work. As long as I have the privilege to write for AIIM, I believe it’s imperative to revisit the “records as usual” treatment until we get it right. Hence the post.

Speaking of getting it right, Edward Tufte is my new hero. I found him for the first time a few weeks ago (Nancy Duarte’s “Slide:ology” and “Resonate” are also extremely good).   I have ordered all of Tufte’s books; I cannot wait to get started. I would love to attend an onsite workshop.

ANYWAY, back to the point: the ability to explain complex data by visual means is imperative for us to learn.  We all recognize that no matter where you sit in your organization, the interpretation of YOUR work, YOUR prepared schedule is a tough communication challenge, but this drive to push yourself in new, visually stunning ways has never been more important.  

Please, please, please listen to what I’m about to say with the most open mind you can.  Revising a retention schedule equates to running the gauntlet.  Representing the changes in the proposed schedule isn’t just hard—today, it’s made more complicated by presenting to your CIO, who is accustomed to graphics and ones and zeros.  A most intoxicating combination in a person, but testament that manual reconciliation of records series between a published and proposed retention schedule doesn’t work anymore…it’s too crude.  Sophisticate the schedule with electronic records locations (think datamaps, information fractals and workflows on your schedule) plus lifecycle pathways, combined with electronic-driven retention periods, and you’ve got your work cut out for you.

Your CIO will be (should be) very interested in whatever retention schedule you present. They will run your numbers—they will start at zero as the base, not the number of series in the published schedule as the tip off point. Those categories that you consider deleted in the transition from the published schedule to the proposed reboot? Your CIO will argue they’re not deleted, they’re referenced orunused (I can get on board with unused).  Different jargon, same negative number. The difference is, do you combine that negative number with the count of new categories on the proposed schedule, or do you separate the reference number out? It’s programmer logic. 

This isn’t the kind of education we Records Managers get from our usual channels. If anything, through extraordinary empathy, IT is teaching us (I encourage you to let that soak in for a minute).

Therefore, should you present something like the graphic I posted last week.  Highlight how a citation stays a citation, how a citation could become a best practice, the early importance of designating influences to the schedule. Realize that it will be close to what I posted, but it…won’t…be…quite…right. Don’t borrow it. A final draft combines those three threads--but it’s complicated.

#logic #bestpractices #legalcitations #presentations #retentionschedule #ElectronicRecordsManagement