taking-great-meeting-notes[1] Ever have three other teammates in the same client meeting taking notes on the same information? All the time, right?!! We all know that there are certain aspects of any conversation that are going to mean more to one person than to another, thus all the variations of notes. But wouldn’t it be nice to designate a single note taker for the team and not miss a single bit of information that is important to you? Yes, I’m about to say, you can have your cake and eat it too! That’s right folks, thanks to OneNote and SharePoint, our project management teams can have the best of both worlds. A designated note taker can capture the bulk of the commentary, while his/her teammates view them in real time, and can contribute more specific details themselves as they see fit. No more wondering who captured what, or trying to consolidate four sets of notes after the fact.

3_ring_binder_2[1] For those who may be unfamiliar with OneNote, picture an old school three ring binder, but much neater. The binder is the Notebook. Within the binder there are Section Groups, you know the orange cardboard pieces with the folder flaps on each side. Within a Section Group there may be more Sections, these mimic the divider pages with the little colored tabs on the edges, sans pockets. And then within a Section, there are Pages, just like your lined white paper. Have we piqued your curiosity? Keep reading for a sneak peek into some of the creative ways we’re using OneNote at C5 Insight to collaborate on client projects.

  1. Client Notebooks: C5 Insight creates a OneNote notebook for each client that engages with us. By storing this notebook on SharePoint, relevant employees have access to all client related notes in a single location. Notebook section groups provide a structured means to capture general client information, open sales engagements and future opportunities. In addition, section groups provide segregation between that general client information and more specific project information.
  2. Project Management: As mentioned in item 1, each client notebook contains section groups for projects associated with that client. C5 Insight has built out section group templates for each type of project methodology that it employs. Thus the project team has the appropriate sections and pages at their fingertips upon project inception. Everything from checklists to meeting agendas and notes templates; to requirements gathering, specification documentation and test scripts are documented in one single location.
  3. Internal Team OneNote Notebooks: Also housed within SharePoint, each departmental team has a shared Notebook. This allows for team collaboration on internal initiatives. Set up very similarly to Client Project Section Groups, there are sections for meeting planning, agendas and notes, idea generation pages, as well as segregated sections for internal projects and even defined departmental policies and procedures.
  4. General OneNote Perks: We love OneNote for the few collaboration reasons mentioned above, but we also love it because it has some great features.
    1. The toolbars, editing functions and text, table, and graphical features are similar to Word. This certainly helps with the learning curve.
    2. No more lost work because you forgot to hit save. That’s right… there’s no save button, OneNote auto saves everything you do. But I can guarantee you’ll be trying to find it at least the first ten times you use OneNote… it’s a hard habit to break!
    3. Need to know who said what? OneNote makes it easy to identify who contributed to the content on each page by highlighting the text and inserting the author’s initials. It’s also easy to see where changes have been made because the page, section, section group and notebook will be bolded until you’ve had an opportunity to review the edits.
    4. Want to get back to the version before another author contributed? Easy… OneNote has built in page versioning. With a couple of mouse clicks you’re there!
    5. Having a really important conversation that you may want to refer back to later? OneNote can record the discussion and link it to the written notes on the page. So you can play back just that portion of the discussion with one click of your mouse on your typed notes, without having to listen to or fast-forward through the entire recording. But don’t forget to disclose to your participants they’re being recorded!

Not sold yet? Give it a go for some of your personal notes. My husband and I share a household notebook. We keep a running list of home repair projects, wish list items we would like to purchase, vacation ideas and so on. Give it shot, let your imagination run wild, come on over to the OneNote side. And if you need some guidance, give us a shout, we would love to hear from you!