A living document is a document that is continuously updated by either one, or more often, several individuals. The document is stored in a shared place that allows free access and free edits. No where is this more evident than in cloud-sharing collaborations. This type of document can be extremely helpful and fruitful for your team or workflow if treated properly. But in some cases, there can also be stagnation if no one takes on the initiative of constantly updating the work. One common reason why initiative is not taken to update a living document could come from a sense of ambiguity.

This is another place to use those RASIC Roles! If you are thinking of using a living document to track the progress of open projects or to log ongoing issues, etc., be sure to clearly outline the ‘rules’ of updating the document. Who has access to edit? What fields should be updated and when? What words or vocabulary should be used? How is the document saved or backed-up? What is our version-control strategy?

Most people use real-time documentation tools for the following reasons:

  • Increased productivity
  • Brainstorming
  • Faster problem-solving
  • Enhanced creativity
  • Faster execution of ideas
  • Building a sense of community

As living documents evolve through successive updates, it’s important to not loose sight of the overall goal and purpose. Be sure to review the document, as a whole, frequently–to ensure that it is still serving the intended purpose.

For more tips on Real-Time Document Collaboration Tools: