Posted in Tools

Seven ways Project Managers can use OneNote

OneNote can be an invaluable tool for project managers when it comes to planning, collaboration, and tracking a project.  Here are seven ways OneNote can be applied when it comes to project management:
  1. Collaborative Requirements Gathering – By using a section in an OneNote notebook, project requirements can be captured and reviewed by the team. When finished the section can be saved to streamline the production of a final requirements document.
  2. Task Assignment and Tracking – OneNote can be used for simple task assignment through checklists. Notes and completion statuses are captured on the same page to provide the PM a real time view of work status and issues.
  3. Meeting Minutes – Creating a template to capture meeting minutes in OneNote makes them searchable, updatable for accuracy, and easily summarized for later reference.
  4. Team Member Reference – Team member reference information can be stored in OneNote including contact information, reference information, and relevant links such as LinkedIn profiles as needed.
  5. Templatized Project Process Steps – If your working on recurring or repeating projects a template in OneNote makes avoiding missed items and maintaining consistency of execution easier for the project manager and team members.
  6. Status Reporting – Status reports are the lifeblood of many projects and OneNote makes the process of gathering, composing, and distributing the status reports more efficient.
  7. Project Information Archiving – Consolidating the project information into a OneNote notebook makes the process of archiving the project information after completion as simple as storing a single file (the OneNote notebook file, not an export, to be clear.). The notebook sections can also be exported as PDF files for permanent project records.
This is just a small sample of the ways OneNote can assist when it comes to project management.  If you have ideas or suggestions, please share them in the comments below.
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Seven ways Project Managers can use OneNote

OneNote can be an invaluable tool for project managers when it comes to planning, collaboration, and tracking a project.  Here are seven ways OneNote can be applied when it comes to project management:
  1. Collaborative Requirements Gathering – By using a section in an OneNote notebook, project requirements can be captured and reviewed by the team. When finished the section can be saved to streamline the production of a final requirements document.
  2. Task Assignment and Tracking – OneNote can be used for simple task assignment through checklists. Notes and completion statuses are captured on the same page to provide the PM a real time view of work status and issues.
  3. Meeting Minutes – Creating a template to capture meeting minutes in OneNote makes them searchable, updatable for accuracy, and easily summarized for later reference.
  4. Team Member Reference – Team member reference information can be stored in OneNote including contact information, reference information, and relevant links such as LinkedIn profiles as needed.
  5. Templatized Project Process Steps – If your working on recurring or repeating projects a template in OneNote makes avoiding missed items and maintaining consistency of execution easier for the project manager and team members.
  6. Status Reporting – Status reports are the lifeblood of many projects and OneNote makes the process of gathering, composing, and distributing the status reports more efficient.
  7. Project Information Archiving – Consolidating the project information into a OneNote notebook makes the process of archiving the project information after completion as simple as storing a single file (the OneNote notebook file, not an export, to be clear.). The notebook sections can also be exported as PDF files for permanent project records.
This is just a small sample of the ways OneNote can assist when it comes to project management.  If you have ideas or suggestions, please share them in the comments below.
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Dealing with Resistance to Sharing Information

Whether you are a consultant, business analyst, project manager, or just a professional tasked with gathering information from other people, you will at some point run into people who are resistant to sharing what they know. In this article we will take a closer look at some of the causes of this behavior and ways you can get around the roadblocks to the information you need.
The business analyst often runs into a difficult situation caused by the unwillingness or inability of the stakeholders to share information about their requirements in the process of capturing business requirements for many projects. This can also be seen in instances when business team members need to share information about how or why business processes function the ways they do. There are a variety of reasons why team members can be resistant to sharing information, especially with an outside consultant, so I’m going to focus on five of the most common areas: 
  • Maintaining Value 
  • The Oral History 
  • Revisionist History 
  • The Outsider
  • Mysteries of the Universe 


Maintaining Value 
Many of us have either experienced this situation directly or have heard the story about the person who wouldn’t share. These are often the team member or members who ascribe to the adage that knowledge is power and retention of that knowledge is control. The intensity of this can vary from organization to organization, department to department, even individual to individual. In cases where it is an individual resistant to sharing information to maintain their own value to the organization, you have the option to involve others in the conversations to get the flow of information moving. In situations where the restriction of information is at a departmental level, such as I.T. not sharing information about reason and rationale with business units or vice versa, executive involvement may be necessary to remove roadblocks.  
The most important thing to keep in mind and to share with the parties involved is the importance of the information to the overall engagement. If the person feels the information they place such high value on will be trivialized then they will be far more reluctant to put it on the table. Take opportunities to separate hesitant people from the main group and interview / interact with them directly. While this is more labor intensive, it can be reassuring to those who feel their information and role in the engagement are not being given the perceived level of importance. 
Juxtaposed to this is the person who feels their control of information gives them power over a situation, often at a station beyond the norm for their role. While less common, this roadblock can be more difficult to overcome because the person withholding the information has determined, wrongfully so in the majority of cases, that hoarding the information is in their best interest. Sometimes this happens infrequently as a form of personal rebellion rather than a conscious effort to maintain informational isolation. 
The Oral History 
In many organizations, no matter how much stress is placed on documenting functionality and processes, there are a number of things that are kept to those “in the know”. This information is shared not through procedures but through informal conversations; you can recognize these often by their preface with “You should remember this…” or “By the way…” 
It’s this informal oral history that accompanies existing processes, especially long term legacy processes, that can challenge the gathering of details which can have a substantial impact on the success of the engagement as a whole. How do you gather the undocumented steps on a process? 
Often we rely on users to supply us with written documentation for review and building business requirements but there is no replacement for the visual demonstration of processes in action. Being able to observe and discuss how a process is executed, identifying edge cases and stray steps not captured in formal documentation, is an excellent tool for a business analyst to use in cases where they sense there may be more to the story than what is being shared. 
Revisionist History 
Just as treacherous as a lack of information for requirements is misinformation. It is unfortunately not uncommon to have business requirements shared that are not an accurate representation of the system as it exists but rather are how the business users think the system should work. For example, when reviewing requirements for a form design the conversation consistently turns to “It would be much better if…” or “It really should do…”. If you are in the stage of capturing what is desired this information is valuable, but if you are trying to identify current state, it can be a waste of time. 
Watch for key phrases and inconsistencies in how people describe the functioning of system vs how they have been documented. Often those inconsistencies come from the same people over and over again, possibly revealing a personal agenda overshadowing the fact finding you are performing. 
The Outsider 
Often a consultant runs into a situation where information is not shared due to the very nature of the client / consultant relationship. Clients can be resistant when they feel, unduly, their work and knowledge is going to be usurped by the consultant. This can also happen in environments where the operational stability is in flux for the individual or team.  
In these circumstances it is critical to focus on relationship building with members of the team until such time as both sides feel comfortable information can be shared to a mutual benefit. Getting clients to recognize the consultant is more than just a “hired gun” can be the difference between open discourse and a strained situation. 
Mysteries of the Universe 
There are cases where hindrances to sharing information come from not a willing resistance but from a lack of information itself. It is not uncommon to find business users executing processes as they were trained, doing the job well, but with no real idea as to why the process needs to be done. Pressing a business user on the why can sometimes shut down the communications channel about the how if they become uncomfortable with their awareness of their lack of knowledge around a process or procedure. In these situations, you need to identify if the information is necessary for the effective execution of their role (apparently not) and where else could that information come from without placing undue stress or unwanted attention on the business user. If you are able to locate the “why” from another source, find out if there is any issue with sharing the “why” with the business users who did not know the answers. In many situations, if there are no managerial restrictions, the sharing of information can open doors with business users to either provide additional details or at a minimum build bridges between the users and the consultant. 
Keep the Information Flowing 
These five areas only scratch the surface of roadblocks you can encounter when gathering information from business users. As you complete each engagement, make part of the post-mortem a review of how the process of information gathering went, what could be improved, and what were the warning signs for future engagements. Business analysis lives and dies based on information and keeping that information flowing is a key to success for many parts of an engagement, not just the requirements stage. 
—– 
Sway presentation – https://sway.com/EaaqnI4TND9A43Kp 
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Seven ways project managers can use OneNote

OneNote can be an invaluable tool for project managers when it comes to planning, collaboration, and tracking a project.  Here are seven ways OneNote can be applied when it comes to project management:

  1. Collaborative Requirements Gathering – By using a section in an OneNote notebook, project requirements can be captured and reviewed by the team. When finished the section can be saved to streamline the production of a final requirements document.
  2. Task Assignment and Tracking – OneNote can be used for simple task assignment through checklists. Notes and completion statuses are captured on the same page to provide the PM a real time view of work status and issues.
  3. Meeting Minutes – Creating a template to capture meeting minutes in OneNote makes them searchable, updatable for accuracy, and easily summarized for later reference.
  4. Team Member Reference – Team member reference information can be stored in OneNote including contact information, reference information, and relevant links such as LinkedIn profiles as needed.
  5. Templatized Project Process Steps – If your working on recurring or repeating projects a template in OneNote makes avoiding missed items and maintaining consistency of execution easier for the project manager and team members.
  6. Status Reporting – Status reports are the lifeblood of many projects and OneNote makes the process of gathering, composing, and distributing the status reports more efficient.
  7. Project Information Archiving – Consolidating the project information into a OneNote notebook makes the process of archiving the project information after completion as simple as storing a single file (the OneNote notebook file, not an export, to be clear.). The notebook sections can also be exported as PDF files for permanent project records.

This is just a small sample of the ways OneNote can assist when it comes to project management.  If you have ideas or suggestions, please share them in the comments below.

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Can a PMO benefit from OneNote?

Project Management Offices are responsible for not only ensuring projects complete within their organization’s defined success parameters but are also responsible for sharing project management best practices to improve consistency and quality in the delivery of projects.  Locating tools to assist the operation and management of PMOs and CoEs (Centers of Excellence) can be time consuming and expensive, and in many cases, unnecessary.

Standardization of Templates

OneNote’s file based structure makes it easy for a PMO/CoE to create standardized templates for projects, engagements, and other repeatable processes.  All a user needs do is to copy the template notebook for their own use and sections, pages, and files are all duplicated and ready to use.

Organization of content around PMO processes

Unlike shared drives and SharePoint sites, a OneNote notebook can be easily organized, reorganized, and shared among a team reflecting the process recommendations from the PMO office. A PMO or CoE can define recommended processes and then not only document those processes but also organize the notebook around echoing the workflow of the process for easier execution.

Common notes and procedures

A PMO can leverage OneNote to create common collections of processes and procedures updatable by the team in real time to make sure faulty processes and procedures are not followed due to not being updated. By seeing not only when procedures were updated but also who updated them and easy version history monitoring, OneNote provides a powerful tool for PMOs and CoEs to keep team members using the right procedures.

Distributed packages of content

As a PMO or CoE grows collections of content around specific topic areas, those content collections can be gathered as OneNote notebooks and distributed as resources to be used online or off.  Starter kits for projects, audit libraries, metrics documentation and dashboards can all be packaged for easy sharing and distribution.

Planning for PMO / CoE success

Having a tool like OneNote as part of the core execution plan for your PMO/CoE from the beginning and bringing your users to the understanding of the benefits and uses of the tool can allow you to focus on the actual purpose of the group rather than the tools needed.  Take time to not only understand what your PMO/CoE needs to accomplish but also how that information will be shared, maintained, and collaborated on for the long term.