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Doc Management Exercise – Creating a

folder structure
The planned outcome for this exercise is to produce an agreed list of shared folders and have a better
understanding of the concepts and reasons behind sharing files and folders. The exercise is primarily
aimed at people who either haven’t used shared folders or are using shared folders with little or no
logical folder names and structure. Estimated time for the tasks is 2 hours.


1. Case study – 40 minutes

The participants will be split into groups of 2 or 3 and will be given the following
• 4 blank meta cards
• 4 meta cards with folder names on them
• 20/30 Meta cards with filenames/types written on them

They will be given time to decide which filenames should go with which folder names. They can
place the filename cards with existing folder/share name cards or if they think there is no match then
they can write new folder/share names on the blank meta cards.

The folders and files should be pre arranged by the facilitator in order that each group will have
roughly half files that go into the existing folders and half that will require them to come up with new
folder names. It also allows for each group to see how the other managed with the folder names that
the other didn’t have.

After that they will view each others file / folder choices and, if there are different choices, then
discuss why they put the files in the folders they did.

Leave the participant organized files and folders on display. They can be useful in the coming
sections when participants will identify their own files and folders.

2. Identify files – 20 minutes

The participants will, individually, identify around 10 document names / document types that they
have created in their day to day work (specify recent but give the option to include any that the
participants want to) and think about which workmates / departments / organisations will also use /
view / modify the file.
They will write these down on flip chart paper and hand to the facilitator. Who will then put them up
on the wall of the training room.

3. Organize files – 1 hour

The participants will focus on the flip chart paper with the filenames they identified in section b) and
will organize them into groups of shared folders. There will also be a non shared group for files that
the participants think should not go into a shared folder.
As the exercise progresses the participants will gradually identify shared folders for the filenames to
go into. Modify and challenge shared folder names as you go. Use 1 or more sheets for the
identified shared folders.

I have found that it works well to classify the identified folders and sub folders as 1, 1.1, 1.2, 1.1.2, 2,
3, etc. These ‘index’ numbers can then be written alongside the files that they identified previously.

As the filenames are placed in folders , if there are different choices, discuss why they put the files in
the folders they did.

Planned Outcome

The group will identify actual shared folder names that will be setup on the office computers by the
IT officer. And it will be each persons responsibility to move files to the relevant shared folders.

It will also be beneficial to leave the flipchart paper with the files and newly identified folders in a
prominent place in the organisation for a couple of weeks after the training so that people can add
more files and folders. Also this will keep the exercise fresh in the minds of the staff.

As shared folders are created I recommend mapping network drives to them on all computers and
also creating shortcuts to the network drives on each computers desktop.

Stress the importance of the shared folder system in terms of organized file and data sharing. And
as a pre-cursor to implementing a backup system.

If people are worried about file security then possibly explain password protecting of files. This is not
the ideal method as passwords can be forgotten but in the absence of individual computer accounts
it is the next best thing.

Created by Neil Johnson, 2008