Document Control Plan: Introduction, Plan Content, Examples

Document Control Plan: Introduction, Plan Content, Examples
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An establishment functions efficiently when the channels of authority are unambiguous, policies and systems are particularly

comprehensive, and the means are accessible to confirm conformity. A document control plan is important to ensure smooth and efficient functioning of the business. A document control procedure facilitates and verifies that only the accepted existing documents are being used in the business.

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The document control plan is basically a guide or an outline that explains the management procedure of documents, virtual or physical, during the project life cycle. It is a road map to track, add, archive, and remove the documents from the system. The essential purposes are the management of document repositories and historical data, and the maintenance of a methodical approach for the creation and updating of documents. The review and updating frequency is specified to ensure continuous improvement. Lessons learned due to continuous efforts by the management team are compiled at the phase end, and included in the appropriate document. The document control plan is necessary where the documents are extensively used, and a software system for the control, categorization, and maintenance is essentially required. This plan is established for ensuring proper documentation in a project, and identifies the individuals who will be allowed access.


A document control plan normally includes the best practices for records management, such as setting up an index of documents available, their intended place, owners, circulation list, scheduled updates, location when archived, and scheduled dates of destruction. For instance, may be the document control plan is required to be updated when any document is updated. The document control plan may be formulated with a normal description, or alternatively in a tabular layout. The document control plan normally includes the methodology for documents version control like Document 1, Document 2. It may also include the author, owner, and the individual or group responsible for that document.

Document Control Method

It is essential that some of the important areas should be included in the document control plans. First, the documents approval procedure should be explained, before the documents are used in the organization. Next, the process for updating and endorsing amendments should be specified in the documents, and the system for identification of changes being incorporated. Changes can be identified by allocating document issue and volume numbers, and the amendment dates. This is essential to ensure that the existing documents are being used in the organization. Lastly, the procedure for destruction of obsolete documents should be mentioned so as to ensure that the old documents are not used unintentionally. Project establishments are lawfully responsible to the regulators, state, and clients for the maintenance of some specified documents. The regulations concerning retention of documents should be implemented, for which legal advice may be necessary.

Continue to Page 2 for an example of a Project Document Control Plan …

Example Document Control Plan

Below is a sample for a document control plan:

1. Objective

This is the Document Control Plan for the ABC Project. The aim of this plan is to control the storage of documents, and important historical data and information. The plan establishes a methodology for the creation, updating, and arrangement of documents. This plan will be evaluated annually and updated as necessary, to ensure continuous improvement.

  • Documents that are subject to continuing review, like plans, reports, should include the history of revision.
  • Table of contents should be included for documents that have more than 20 pages.
  • Official plans should be signed (describe the process if electronic signatures are to used).
  • Sensitive and secret documents should bear appropriate marking.

1.1 Scope


The aim of this Document Control Plan is:

  • Identify roles concerned with the management of documents.
  • Describe the infrastructure to be used to ensure proper management of documents.
  • Classify the standards for the preparation of the document plan.
  • Document change and version control procedures.
  • Approach for backup, storage, and retention.

2. Roles

  • There are different resources involved in the management of documents.

2.1 Project Staff

Project staff is accountable for the creation and storage of documents, and for completion of document profiles. Staff will also classify vital hardcopies that must be protected.

2.2 Librarian

The librarian has the main liability to ensure correct storage of documents in the library. The Librarian is responsible for the implementation of retention policies.

3. Categories Of Documents

The types of documents that will be used are project plans, administration, presentations, analyses, working papers, contract management, communications, emails, and references.

4. Storage Of Documents

4.1 Hardcopy

The Librarian will be responsible for the storage of the hard copy documents. These include official correspondence, samples, proposals, research material, and licenses.

4.2 Electronic Library

  • Distinctive numbers are allocated to the documents in database.

4.2.1 Profile Management

  • The profile of the document is used to manage and trace documents.

4.2.2 Standards For Document Designation

  • The principles used for the identification of documents will be as follows:

  • Names should be distinctive

  • Documents that are frequently updated must contain the date and version number e.g., Orientation Plan version 2

5. Standards For Documentation

5.1 Templates

  • Standard project templates and standards will be used for the minutes of meetings, letters, and reports.

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This document control plan example continues on Page 3

Documents Control Plan Example Continued

5.2 Regulations

The following regulations will be used by the project for creation of documents:

  • Documents must specify the creation date, number, title, and the page number.
  • Documents that are subject to continuing review, like plans, reports, should include history of revision.
  • Table of contents should be included for documents that have more than 20 pages.
  • Official plans should be signed.
  • Sensitive and secret documents should bear appropriate marking.

6. Control Of Documents

6.1 Library Control

A qualified librarian is responsible for management and control of hardcopies. He will periodically review the depository to ensure proper version control, naming of documents, and filing procedures.

6.2 Control Of Version

Versions of documents will be controlled by the application of project procedures.

7. Review And Approval

Review of documents will be carried out before being released. Plans will be examined annually to ensure their correctness, and verify that they include the existing project objectives.

7.1 Process

Level 2 documents will be assessed by suitable project team, sponsor, or the stakeholders, as necessary. The project director will endorse the documents before being released.

7.2 Baselining Of Documents

Official documents that are required to be baseline, will be reviewed and approved. All such documents will incorporate a signature page.

8. Retention Of Documents

8.1 Backup

  • All files will be backed up by the IT staff.


The document control plan should be concise and manageable by the project system. The control of documents will facilitate the project business procedures. Control of a fewer number of documents is simpler and more efficient and reliable. The level of documents should be well defined, such as policies, procedures, work instructions, and forms to be used within the organization.