I take a lot of notes. You’ll never find me in a meeting or a call just sitting there nodding – nope. Also, you’ll never have a meeting with me without getting a giant email afterwards detailing pretty much everything we covered.
Why? Jennifer, why are you such a crazy chronicler? Do we really care about what we talked about at lunch? Why are you listing out what goes into the Settings screen – isn’t that obvious?
The reasons I do these things, and why I’m so militant about taking notes and asking others to refer to/read the notes is because communication is key to a successful product.
Notes are a great reference point for what we’re thinking, problems we’ve worked through, and decisions we’ve settled on. While some people might have amazing eidetic memories, most of us don’t and that’s where the notes come in. BAM! Here’s a note on what features we want in the Settings screen, or here is a note from a user interview we did last June where they asked for 3 new features, or here is a note where we decided to delay push notifications until V2 so let’s stop arguing about it for the 1 millionth time.
At LunarLincoln, we use a little tool called Confluence to keep track of notes, plans, etc. This isn’t necessarily the best tool or the most elegant tool (but it works with our ticketing system JIRA and user system so it’s fine). Some teams use Google Docs. Some teams use Notion, or Basecamp, or Asana. Sometimes I even use regular pen and paper *gasp*. (And then later I type it into Confluence so it’s searchable). These all work.
Notes may seem not important when you’re first starting out – I know everything, I’ve got it! But when it comes time to add new team members, or when you’ve put a side project down and then you want to resurrect it 6 months later – you’ll come to appreciate the time savings of having notes about where you were, what came next, and why in the world you decided that the menu needed to be at the bottom instead of the top.
So “notes” is kind of a vague term. I mean, I get the concept but what exactly DO we consider useful notes at LunarLincoln?
Things I find myself referencing, creating, or wishing I had later:
- Feature Lists
- Goals, Audience, Problems
- Names, Marketing Phrases, Short descriptions of the Product
- Meeting Notes / Decisions Made
- Credentials, Key Roles, Terminology
- User Stories / Development discussions
- Business Plans / Monetization
- Drawings / Doodles / Whiteboard Photos / Designs
Typically if you have detailed content for these areas – you are on your way to having STRONG plans for building a product. These are the kinds of notes that allow you AND your teammates/contractors/helpers/investors to have CLEAR VISION and to be on the same page. (It also majorly cuts down on the number of questions you get and having to repeat yourself over and over)
So yeah – NOTES. A super basic thing, that you should do and make a habit of. We love it and hope you’ll learn to love it too.