RIM Styles: Take the Quiz to Find Yours

By Michelle Johnson

Two illustrated characters smiling and dancing under a disco ball.

As public servants, records and information management (RIM) is a simple fact of life—statute applies to us all. However, regulation does not imply homogeneity, and RIM programs are as unique as the entities that create them.

April is RIM month, and we at TSLAC want to take a moment to celebrate all the different RIM styles we see throughout the state. From the tiniest local government to the biggest state agency, the RIM work being done in Texas is simply extraordinary. Take the quiz to find your style!

Which best describes your RIM training program?

A) If staff weren’t expert records custodians before working here, they are now. RIM training is mandatory during on-boarding, and our Records Management Officer (RMO) reaches out to staff regularly with program updates, tips, and tricks.

B) We suggest all new employees watch TSLAC’s recorded webinars and arrange for group in-person training with TSLAC every few years. Directors are responsible for disseminating information updates.

C) If an employee only creates transitory records and doesn’t manage shared documents, there’s no need to train. The RMO will take care of making sure the people who need to be are in the know.

Which best describes your retention schedules?

A) We frequently review and update our schedule so it always reflects current state regulations and our own internal business practices. Our schedule is so customized, our buckets have buckets.

B) We have taken the schedules published by TSLAC and tweaked the language to make series more relevant to our functions. We have also added a few custom series for those extra specific records.

C) Our series are copied directly from TSLAC’s schedules, or we refer staff directly to TSLAC’s website. That way, we always know we’re referring to the latest information.

Which best describes your disposition methods?

A) Our detailed disposition logs go back to the 90’s, and we’re on a first-name basis with our destruction vendor. You won’t find any records here that have been eligible for disposition more than six months.

B) Fiscal year end (FYE) is our annual disposition season, and staff always look forward to Shred Day. We purposefully over-retain certain records as part of big buckets that simplify the destruction process.

C) Freeing up storage space is a motivating factor when records start piling up. We address disposition as our busy schedules allow and record bulk destruction on a shared disposition log.

Which best describes your storage methods?

A) We have detailed procedures for filing and naming conventions. Our digital folders make liberal use of crosswalks to maintain template control and reduce the number of free-floating convenience copies.

B) Permanent and essential records are overseen by records staff, but each department is otherwise free to use the filing methods that work best for their team as long as records are discoverable when needed.

C) Institutional knowledge is very important to us, and our office works as a unit. Because of this, any staff member need only ask the appropriate team member to find where specific records are kept.

Which most resembles your RIM accountability structure?

A) Our records management program is directly overseen by senior level management, and we have a team of full-time staff dedicated to the care and maintenance of our organization’s records.

B) Department autonomy is important to us, so directors and managers are assigned as records liaisons responsible for ensuring their teams are managing records appropriately.

C) Records management falls under “other duties as assigned,” and the team (or person) in charge of operating the records management program wears many hats.

Time to find your style!

If you answered with mostly…

A single illustrated person with light skin juggling documents, files, and clipboards.
A single illustrated person with dark skin doing yoga with their hands folded and one leg lifted.
A single illustrated person with dark skin jumping on a skateboard.

A’s: Your style is Hefty RIM.

Your government prioritizes RIM and invests resources towards ensuring open and transparent operations. You’ve got a good-sized team, and you work hard. We salute you as leaders and trailblazers in the RIM industry!

B’s: Your style is Optimal RIM.

Your government has the Goldilocks of RIM programs, overseen by a small central team with many tasks delegated to department heads and managers. We celebrate all the ways your work behind the scenes allows our governments to function properly!

C’s: Your style is Agile RIM.

Efficiency and economy are the cornerstones of your RIM program. You excel at coming up with creative solutions and making a little go a long way. We are amazed at your ingenuity and ability to wear a thousand and one hats (and make them all look good)!

Hefty, Optimal, or Agile, TSLAC is proud to support your RIM efforts. Let us know your style below!

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2 thoughts on “RIM Styles: Take the Quiz to Find Yours

  1. I’ve been called Mr. Heavy Duty Certified Records and Information Management Officer. But on this scale, my agency leans hefty. If you can’t handle choking on dust and chucking 50 pound boxes, you don’t deserve the glory of wowing your audience with a detailed presentation on the built-to-spec data classification metadata tagging regime in your on-prem Sharepoint. Country Mouse and City Mouse RIM.

    One trend in RIM that I’m ambivalent to down on is iterative bucketing. I’m fine with TSLAC bucketing the state RRS series, but on the agency level these series are beastly and to do it right you “end up with so many carve outs for special consideration series that you’ll be singing Hank Williams.” If I had my druthers, I would edit my “structure” article on the Texas Record to include proper data classification as a Con with Big Bucket schedules.

  2. Thanks for your response, Andrew! That’s a great point, bucketing isn’t necessarily a strategy that is indicative of a more or less “advanced” RIM program. Sometimes nesting buckets just aren’t the right for the structure of an agency’s schedule, whether the RIM program is Hefty, Optimal, or Agile. I hope you are planning to attend the State Agency RMO Meeting on April 19th…we’d love to hear more about your agency’s schedule during the breakout session!

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