I was reading a little about Johnny Decimal this weekend. I get the impression that there’s a level of folder structure that’s not talked about, which is the project level. That level is above the top level of Johnny Decimal.
Let’s say you work on the production staff of an episodic TV series like The Simpsons. Each episode has a number of required steps and reference assets. Those steps and types of assets are the same from one episode to the next. Each episode gets its own folder, and within that folder you organize all the steps and reference assets for each episode using the Johnny Decimal method.
But you can’t really organize the episodes themselves using Johnny Decimal because it doesn’t make sense and because they have been 734 episodes of The Simpsons. And that’s more than 10.
This is a pattern within 13 Multiple projects that I haven’t documented yet. It’s one of the reasons the site got a re-write: I just haven’t got round to it.
(In 2020 when I wrote the site that just got replaced I didn’t really plan for it to be updated, so ironically enough there wasn’t really a structure to allow me to add significant new content.)
You’ve identified the ‘creative agency’ pattern. They have loads of clients and each client has loads of jobs.
My partner has worked in this world and apparently each job has an agency-specific ‘job code’. I think in this case my advice would be to use that ‘job code’ as your first-level organising folder, i.e. replace my letter-number-number project code with a code that already exists and is well understood at your company.
And then under there is your JD structure. In the case of The Simpsons, I’d expect each of those structures to be essentially identical, with different assets at the leaf nodes.
In the “letter-number-number project code” system, the letter is a top level, above the area and category, giving us a three-level hierarchy instead of two?
BTW, I’m a freelance journalist and content marketer. So essentially a one-person agency. I chose the Simpsons example because I thought it would be more understandable and enjoyable for most people, but the organizational situation is similar to my own… I have articles, blog posts, and white papers instead of episodes.