An issue that comes up increasingly is how to manage workflow and collaboration. On a primitive level this seems easy: you exchange documents, mark them up, make changes, etc.
It’s when you have to organize them that problems arise. Document management systems such as Worldox provide an initial basis for collaboration by organizing your documents and implementing version control. This lets you see which “versions” of document are saved on different dates and by whom. To the extent you are exchanging documents within the firm, Worldox makes it easy to email just a link to the document: various people can then make their changes and save them as different version. This works on a one-to-one basis.
The next level comes with the need to perform some sort of document comparison/track changes function. If Word’s built-in functionality is adequate (for many people it is not), fine. Otherwise you will need some third-party add-in such as DocsCorp Compare Docs, iRedline from Esquire Innovations or the 800 lb. gorilla, DeltaView/Workshare.
Perhaps the most difficult subject, however, is exactly how do you exchange documents? And what if multiple people are making simultaneous revisions: Then you have an initial document. Version 1 is created by editor 1. Version 2 is created by editor 2 but does not incorporate the change of Version 1. And so on. This scenario can get very complex very quickly. Generally, somebody has to coordinate all the changes (by hand).
As a frequent proponent of “less is more” I was intrigued by Dennis Kennedy’s suggestion, in the recent book by Dennis and Tom Mighell, that you put the entire document in a table with the text in the left column and comments in the right column. This makes it easy to look at the comments and relatively easy for somebody to coordinate the changes.