OneNote shared notebook
I have just posted about how impressed I am by the OneNote team, and I especially like it when they share details of how the team uses the product themselves to push the boundaries of their processes. In this extract of a long post, Chris describes how they use the next version of OneNote to help with the planning and estimating process:
For our last milestone we used OneNote 12 and created a shared notebook, using several sections but one especially held a page for every proposed feature. We put a table at the top of each page, and embedded the spec document in question. The table also had a place to list the devs, testers, comments, unanswered questions (marked with note flags), etc. Everyone on the team could see the notebook at any time, even on the bus ride home. You could see which devs had started making comments on which spec. Two devs could comment on the same spec at the same time. We could query the whole notebook to see how many unanswered questions there were and what they were.
There were some neat side effects too. For example, previously we used to put these specs out and dev would say they would estimate them. Now we could actually see that they didn’t start estimating them until the following week (with an integrated development team it is gold to know what is really happening, not just what is supposed to be happening). Some PMs took advantage of that knowledge to put up an updated spec that had more detail – something we had been asked not to do in the past as devs had often started estimating the spec unbeknownst to us.
The most amazing thing was that we were done with the whole exercise and had higher faith in its being well executed in a matter of a week – usually it takes a month. This underlines one of the selling points of this approach – it makes your organization more agile. I was talking to a law firm the other day which is interested in OneNote. I asked them why a firm that charges by the hour is interested in time-saving productivity tools? The answer: law firms that engage in litigation are more interested in winning the case than in hourly fees. Anything that allows them to put a case together and move faster than the competition increases their chance of winning. The CIO told me that he learned something from a General when he served with the military: winning is all about not waiting your turn.