Critical Thinking Scenario – Create a Nested Folder Structure – Part 1

In this exercise, I challenge you to tap into your critical thinking skills, which are crucial to a litigation support role. In a previous article, I discussed the importance of workflow. The discussion¬†resonated with you, as evidenced by the many shares and comments it received. So, I thought I would turn it up a notch here and give you the opportunity to put “workflow” into practice.

This is a real on-the-job scenario and you are going to join me (and everyone else who decides to contribute) to come up with possible solutions and then take action.

NOTE: For those of you who already have coding or programming skills, this exercise is not for you. ūüėČ

Skill Level: Beginner
EDRM Stage: Collection, Processing
What is Litigation Support: Help Desk / IT Support
Tools of the Trade: Data Processing, Data Transfer

Scenario Overview

We need to create a nested folder structure on the server to organize documents related to specific custodians.

We have received client documents (both electronic and hardcopy) for seven (7) custodians. We anticipate receiving documents for at least a dozen more custodians.

The electronic documents were delivered on several CDs, prepared by the client. The hardcopy documents were delivered in manilla folders and redwelds within several boxes. The hardcopy documents will be scanned to PDF format.

From what we can tell from the content of the CDs as well as the folders in the boxes, there will need to be 3 or 4 levels of subfolders created.

Another thing we observed is that the categories of documents differ slightly between custodians, so the folder structure for some custodians will need to be customized.

Critical Thinking

Now we need to make a decision. How should we accomplish the task of creating the nested folder structure?

Questions we could ask ourselves:

  1. What is the timeline, when does this task need to be completed?
  2. How many parent folders do we need to create?
  3. How many subfolders do we need to create? In other words, what is the volume of work?
  4. Will we ever use a folder structure like this again? Is it a standard request or a one-off request?
  5. Should we automate it? (If we do, we will be able to reuse it next time the need arises.)
  6. What skill sets do we have that could help create a solution?
  7. Should we use text editors, Excel, or some built-in Windows tools?
  8. What if we don't know where to start? Should we call a friend or reach out to someone in our network for advice? Yes! I do it all the time.
  9. What are our solution options?
  10. Which option best aligns with our current timeline and/or current workload?
  11. Which option can we more easily delegate if our workload is too heavy? How much oversight/mentoring will delegation require?

At this point, I would like to hear from you. Before I share the solution options I have come up with, it would be an excellent use of your critical thinking skills if you spend some time thinking this through and then come up with your own possible solutions first. Think about how empowered you will feel if you figure this out on your own!

To clarify, I am not looking for a description of how you would organize the folders and what you would name them. Instead, I am looking for the technical steps you would take to create the folder structure and what software tools, if any, you would implement to automate the creation of the folder structure.

  1. What solution options come to mind?
  2. Which option are you leaning towards and why?

I created a Google Form for you to share your responses. After you share your responses (anonymously), you will be able to learn from others by viewing all responses received to date.

NOTE: If your workplace blocks the completion of Google Forms, you can either try it again from home or you can email your responses to me and I will manually add them to the rest of the responses.

Coming up next, in Critical Thinking Scenario РCreate a Nested Folder Structure РPart 2, I share several options I came up with and I demonstrate how to implement them.

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