Evernote – Using Evernote as an electronic notebook for lessons learned

This post builds upon the previous one about using Evernote for Project Management and adds a few steps. I am sure that we all have geared up for a project that either got cancelled for funding or some other reason or was put on hold for another reason that you may not have been told about.

When you do get the green light for a project, you may be going into it full throttle. This is when I take what I have put together during the research/preparation phase and leverage it for implementation. If during the course of implementation, I have to make a change in the implementation scripts or plans, I keep notes about that in what started out as an Active Projects folder and use it as a record of lessons learned as a record of implementation. Depending on what type or level of Change Management Control procedures that you may be dealing with, having as much detail in your notes as to what deviations or changes that may be made to the initial plans, you will have good records as to what you did and why so that if you are asked why, you will be able to immediately call up your reasons instead of having to go through pages and pages of Post It notes or pieces of paper. The time spent on doing this will be well worth the effort.

Something else that has also served me well is that as I make changes and do the testing that is prudent at each step is to record any error messages or diagnostic logs. With that, as I need to engage the appropriate vendors support group, I already have things such as the current configuration changes that may have led up to the error message already in hand. Also, if I have to make any configuration changes in response to an error that I received in earlier steps, I have that documented for working with Support or in filing supporting documentation for submitting a bug report to the vendor(s) in question. It also helps in building a lessons learned when a particular feature is implemented in one version of firmware but due to changes or deprecation of a particular component, that I have the information as to why thing were configured differently and why.

In the process of working with Support, there may be an exchange of emails relating to the problem I am working that are worth documenting as a part of this specific project. With Evernote, you can have everything in one place instead of having several different places and not have to worry about remembering what you have and where (if you happen to remember all of the places you may need to look). Especially when you are working with leading edge (or should I say bleeding edge) technology, having documentation that shows you had guidance from a vendor to pursue a particular direction can be really helpful when you have problems or need to explain to management as to why you had to go in a different direction that first anticipated.

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