Operational Excellence

What to Look for When Selecting Document Management Systems

Written By: Ray Waldron
May 17, 2024
7 min read

Ever feel like you need a search party to find project documents? Or that your job description should list document search and rescue as a key responsibility?

As a project manager, documents are your livelihood. Your success and productivity hinge on your ability to organize, track, and maintain those documents. But with every project comes stacks of paperwork. When these stacks become mountains, project managers spend more time and energy preserving document accuracy to keep projects moving.

In this blog post, we’ll explore how document management tools can simplify project workflows. We’ll also provide tips on implementing a document management system (DMS) and share some document management systems examples to consider.

What is Document Management in Project Management?

Effective document management brings order to project chaos. Instead of scrambling to find the latest version of a document, or worse, referencing an outdated document, teams can find everything in one place. A central hub for project-related documents ensures everyone can access the most up-to-date files. Document management paves the way for clear communication and seamless collaboration.

Project management can be downright impossible without it. Imagine a complex project with multiple stakeholders and piles of documents. Not even the most skilled project managers can remember why a contract changed or if a project blueprint meets industry regulations without a document management system. When these details get missed, errors and delays are inevitable.

Professionals across industries could benefit from document management to simplify their workflows. According to a survey, 33 percent of workers report struggling with version control. Research indicates that the average employee spends between 15 and 30 percent of their time searching for documents. Document management success stories are common—like Boyett Construction, a company that became a global manufacturer’s most valuable distributor after adopting a centralized data repository to store project information.

Advantages of Document Management Systems (DMS)

Aside from the obvious benefit of having organized, easily accessible documents, a document management system (DMS) offers a range of other benefits including:

  • Streamlined Operations: Since document management systems make it easier to share, access, and version documents, teams can collaborate more effectively. They’re able to securely access cloud-based documents from any location.

  • Reduced Errors: Teams using document templates and version control make fewer errors, which allows them to improve project delivery. They can also automate complex compliance and retention processes for maintaining regulatory requirements.

  • Cost Savings: Document management systems save teams time and money. They improve productivity and lower operating costs. They also eliminate the costs of printing, filing, and retrieval.

  • Simplified Collaboration: With the collaboration features of a DMS, teams can work on documents simultaneously, add comments and revisions, and track changes. This helps keep everyone on the same page.

  • Improved Workflows: Many DMS solutions offer workflow automation, which allows teams to route documents for approvals, set up notifications and deadlines, and assign tasks.

  • Enhanced Security: You can control who views or edits documents and use audit trails to track activity with the robust security features of a DMS. This helps hold teams accountable and ensures they’re compliant with rules and regulations.

Examples of Document Management Tools

Below we’ve included a few document management systems examples and the features you’ll want to consider as you’re exploring your options.


Quickbase is the leading application platform for dynamic work. It helps teams tackle complex projects and automate processes so they can get work done with greater speed and agility. As a DMS, Quickbase makes managing data and files easy. You don’t have to worry about manually tracking versions or overwriting other team member’s changes in a document.


  • Create custom solutions for your most complex projects with intuitive, no-code application building features.

  • Optimize tasks and processes with drag-and-drop workflow automation.

  • Manage workflows and access information on the go with mobile apps.

  • Get real-time visibility into project performance with dynamic, role-based reports, charts, and dashboards.

  • Bring all your project data together with native integration features and extensive APIs.


A cloud-based Software as a Service provider, DocuWare provides document management, repository, and workflow automation functions. No matter where teams are located, DocuWare digitizes and secures information to flow effortlessly between decision-makers.


  • Store and retrieve documents from any source.

  • Automate manual data entry and repetitive tasks including filing, version control, approvals, and reminders.

  • Access your business documents and workflows from anywhere.

  • Encrypt data transmissions and manage permissions to protect sensitive information.


Wrike is a powerful work management platform that streamlines work processes and empowers teams to collaborate, manage projects, and achieve their goals. Teams can manage their projects in real-time, all from one platform.


  • Share project-related files easily and securely from anywhere.

  • Integrate Wrike with other business-critical applications like Google Sheets and Gmail to speed up your workflows.

  • Drive faster decisions and accelerate projects with automation, real-time visibility, customizable dashboards, and reports.

  • Hold teams accountable by centralizing projects in one project management app.


ClickUp is an all-in-one productivity platform designed for teams to come together, plan, and collaborate. As a DMS, ClickUp enables teams to create docs, connect them to workflows, and execute their ideas.


  • Create, edit, and organize actionable documents and edit in real-time adding style elements like banners, tables, and buttons.

  • Stay organized and on track with real-time task integration.

  • Manage project tasks, statuses, and workflows directly within your document.

  • Define who can view, edit, or comment on your documents.

How to Implement Effective Document Management Tools

With so many comprehensive project management solutions and document management systems, choosing the right one is tricky. Here are some tips for selecting and implementing a DMS.

1. Define your requirements. Consider the features that will benefit your project management workflows the most. For many companies, this list of features often includes document versioning, collaboration, security, and integration with other project management tools.

2. Evaluate scalability. When you bring on more team members, you’ll want a DMS that can keep up. As your projects expand and the volume of documents increases, scalability will be an important factor.

3. Prioritize integration. Your DMS should complement your existing project management software, CRM, and other business systems.

4. Assess user-friendliness. If your DMS isn’t easy for your team to learn and quickly use, they’re less likely to use it consistently. Consider the system’s interface and ease of navigation and what support resources are available.

5. Create a detailed implementation plan. Before rolling out your new DMS, create a comprehensive plan that includes software configuration, data migration, user training, and change management.

6. Provide comprehensive training. Training predicts future success. When users understand the features and functionality of your document management system, they know how to properly use it and what’s expected of them.

7. Establish clear policies and procedures. You need clear-cut guidelines right out of the gate. This includes naming conventions, access controls, workflows, and any other procedures that will help govern how users collectively use the DMS.

8. Optimize your DMS. As you use the system more, you’ll discover ways to better configure your workflows and improve its effectiveness for project management.


Frantic searches for documents and endless email threads hold your teams back from project success. Document management systems give teams an organized structure to collaborate, exchange insights, and keep projects flowing. A DMS can also help new team members get up to speed as they join a project. No matter where they join in the project cycle, they can view project requirements, status updates, and other critical information.

Ready to reclaim time spent hunting down documents and take control of your workflows? Explore how Quickbase’s project management software can support your document management needs.

Picture of Associate Content Marketing Manager Ray Waldron set against a lochinvar background
Written By: Ray Waldron

Ray Waldron is an Associate Content Marketing Manager at Quickbase.