Friday, January 30, 2009

What about the big bucket approach?

David Gaynon, CRM has been active in ARMA since 1981. He writes:

Hi Shawn,

I must stress that the following represents my own personal views and not that of my employer.

What if you use a big bucket approach for the management of email. For non managerial employees you provide the option of: (a) immediate purge for information of limited importance; and a defined retention period --say 6 months or 2 years for working papers. For managerial employees they would be provided with the same categories plus a third of 5 or 10 years for business planning. It may be that management will tell you that they will need additional categories such as external communication. This of course drives how you are using email in support of your governance model. This I think will wash out through deployment.

It is useful to consider that correspondence about a business function should not have the same retention as the function itself. For example I believe that all correspondence about the general ledger does not need to be kept as long as the general ledger itself. One may consider that such correspondence is really backup -- a form of drafts which would normally be disposed of once the final version is issued. This of course is difficult to manage at the user level. That is why I have come to believe that the simplified version of email retention that I lay out above is the way to go.

I think sometimes that records managers make a mistake when they seek the perfect solution that eliminates all risk of error. This is most likely not possible and attempting this could prove most expensive. The goal of risk management is not to eliminate risk but to manage it consistent with an organization's tolerance for risk.

I hope this helps. Good luck in your efforts.

David B. Gaynon, CRM
Records Retention Manager/General Affairs
Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA


  1. I appreciate your view of taking things differently.I think big bucket approach is useful as it reduces risk factors and other factors which can cause errors.Record retention can be used by organizations as well which benefit them.