Using OneNote for Documentation of IT Projects and Tasks

OneNote IconKeeping track of IT using OneNote can simplify the documentation of Information Technology information. The enigma in many organizations is that the people responsible for Computer Information Systems very often don't effectively use information that will boost efficiency and sanity. A quick setup will provide a solid foundation to build on.

There are a laundry list of reasons why documentation falls short. Time requirements especially for the initial campaign inhibit many. Lack of purpose and understanding becomes a barrier for anyone pushing to raise the priority of building and maintaining the library. It's hard to understand the benefit of taking time out of ones day to write down what you could find other ways "just in case". Those who either have experienced effective documentation in action or been fortunate enough to lead the initiative and witness it's adoption and success almost always become apostles preaching to an uninterested audience.

Stop preaching and start showing....

OneNote comes in really handy for smaller departments and teams but can also be used to bring others on board the mission to encourage good habits. 

Setup

  1. ♦ Install OneNote and create a new notebook on a network share that can be accessed by your team.  Storing the notebook on a network share is quickest and least complicated method to collaboration on a OneNote Notebook. Even if you don't think they will participate this is an effective strategy to open the doors up quickly if they show interest.
  2. ♦ Open your notebook up and create a few sections to lay down the foundation
    1. Admin Tools
    2. Checklists
    3. Email Templates - Avoid rewriting the same email over and over, also share this template with others it's really easy to send email items to OneNote from Outlook with the click of a button
    4. Common Fixes
    5. Intern Tasks
    6. PMCS Tasks - Preventative Maintenance Checks and Services
    7. Work Record

Tips for a successful OneNote application

  1. OneNote is easy to open, alter and close.  You don't need to budget a large amount of time, just put items in as you find them useful.  When information is requested from a colleague remind them that they have access to your notebook which will save you both time.  They may surprise you and start contributing.
  2. It's easy to reorganize your notebooks, start with core sections adding information relavant then set aside a little bit of time after you've populated the notebook a bit to see how the organization can be improved.
  3. There are many templates out there to fit needs to your organization.  I have attached a packaged notebook of objects collected including Calendar Objects, Meeting forms, planning/tracking, reviews, to-do lists and more.  Hopefully this provides a good start for you.
  4. As with any system, avoid using OneNote as an "all purpose" tool.  There are always going to be situations that Access, Excel, Word are better suited and trying to force it will make users dislike a useful tool.

Uses for OneNote

  • When I needed a quick way to keep track of the number of support requests and how long they took I quickly created a new tab, right clicked on the page to add a table with columns to record the user, method they used to contact, the amount of time the request took and a brief description of the request
    • It took less time to create the system than write this item and saved even more by not having to put tickets into our support system for quick requests
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OneNote_Objects.onepkg256.03 KB

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