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Project Part Mangement

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I'm trying to come up with a good system for managing project "detritus" or "artifacts" to keep my workplace from losing bits of projects, and just organsing it all together so we can keep track of it long term.  Things like project specific programmers, parts, testing boards, components, etc need to be preserved in some cases so that we can do maintenance of projects not in current active development.

So far my best idea has been to do a library-like thing, where you have each part labelled with the project name, number, etc and then have matching card that you sign out with your name.  All these parts are normally in boxes specific to each project.  My concern is that this might be enough effort that people just won't do it.

Has anyone implemented something similar for organizing projects?  I'd love to hear what worked and what didn't.

Terry Bites:

I have seen excel used before.  That might work since this isn't going to be used in a distributed way.

A previous workplace did that by having a PC nearby and an excel spreadsheet open that had cells that looked like the physical layout of the shelves.  The shelves had these nice boxes (I think they're called euro-box but not sure) that fit just perfectly.  The idea was that you signed out each cell by placing some project information in them, then put the parts in the box and back on the shelf.  It worked alright but didn't allow granularity of the things in the shelves.

Using Excel for asset or stock control or generally as a database, with more than one person responsible for data entry, even though only one instance is running is a disaster waiting to happen.   If you build an application on top of  Excel to reduce its deficiencies and make it harder for a moments inattention to FUBAR the  worksheet, you've just set your personal bus-factor to one, and will be stuck with maintaining it evermore.

Use a real database, or better yet, a real asset and inventory control application, that can log all transactions with their user ID so you know who to question if tools or jigs are logged out then found to be damaged or incomplete, and barcode each storage container, and subcontainers within them, so checkin and checkout can be reduced to simply scanning one's ID badge + the items in question.


--- Quote from: Fratink on November 24, 2021, 03:18:27 pm ---... My concern is that this might be enough effort that people just won't do it.

--- End quote ---

There is no system imaginable that can be considered too easy not to do  :D. There will always be some reason in someone's mind that takes a greater priority than even scanning a barcode, I'm both guilty of that and witnessed it enough times (with great hypocrisy I probably called them out on it as well!) but even the simplest scheme has the potential to slip. So whether it's excel, paper, or a formal database, (as with so many things) its function can only possibly be as good as its measurement, how easily you can discover problems.

Based on a good system I once saw, the equipment was marked in some way to show it is 'from the shelf', a red tag or sticker or something with asset number and not easily removed, each user had a number of tags on elastic bands to attach to equipment when removed from the shelf. Any item then floating in the company was then both identifiable as needing a responsible person and having a responsible person. There was a general understanding that anyone had the right to restore the "ambiguous" equipment to the shelf. Each person had a limited number of their own tags, and longer-term "per project" ones assigned separately, different colors (maybe a symbol or shape in case of color blindness) per project or purpose maybe... was only items that were formally listed as 'assets' or requiring calibration that had propper asset numbers, otherwise just had a shelf number and description, and things kept pretty much under control. I think it was just accepted that some things will end up in desk drawers no matter how its implemented, but it added that psychological step of "I'm taking this item, I need to put a tag on it else it'll get returned, best just sign it out also". It's pretty flexible and scalable.


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