The Hand Written Diary
Hand written diaries work very well. They are especially convenient when traveling to job sites or project meetings. Handwritten notes should contain all of the elements mentioned above. One of the best features of a hand written diary is the ability to draw a sketch – a picture is worth a thousand words. One of the shortcomings of a handwritten diary is the inability to search for entries based on criteria. If you needed to locate any notes or entries discussing the project’s backflow preventer, it will you take a great deal of time to scan through the pages. This is where an electronic diary has an advantage.
Electronic diaries are great and there are several software tools designed to record diary entries. The challenge is that they may not be as portable as your written document. Or if the diary is traveling with you on your laptop, it may not be accessible to the remainder of the design team back in the office. There are some great advantages to the electronic diary. Automatic date and time stamps record when entries were made and categorizing of entries into groups such as phone calls, meetings, conversations, etc. make it very handy when searching through records.
Electronic diaries are also searchable on the content. In a matter of seconds you can find every entry that has a keyword that you are looking for. You should look for a system that is intuitive, priced right, and sharable over your network. To gain real value you need a tool that has realtime access by your entire staff for recording, searching, and printing of diary entries.
The best version of an electronic project diary will be one that integrates with your project management software. Or better yet, one that is an internal component of your project management software. This type of electronic project diary can automatically link entries to projects, companies, staff, and contacts. It can be shared over your network and can serve as a repository for critical project information. When you integrate your project diary with this type of linking you have a very powerful tool.
You can not afford to not keep a diary. Everyone in your organization needs to be logging their information. Your diary may have the one thing you need when call in for a deposition. A simple record of who said what when can be the difference between a successful project and an errors and omissions claim.