Perhaps you are like me. You have lots of thoughts darting around in your mind. If you are looking for a way to sort and organize your thoughts, let’s look at the benefits of keeping a project journal.
Project managers are busy people, often managing multiple projects. During the course of a day, you may encounter all kinds of things–schedule conflicts, people issues, poor leadership by your sponsors, too many meetings, and scope creep, to name a few. Furthermore, we are so busy that it’s hard to find time to make sense of it all.
Author, blogger and speaker Michael Hyatt says, “…journaling is a means to an end. It helps me think more deeply about my life, where it is going, and what it means.” This is not only true for our personal lives, but journaling helps with our professional lives.
Here are seven ways I benefit from my project journal:
I journal my more challenging programs and projects. I particularly find value in journaling about projects that are unlike any projects I’ve managed before. And I journal projects where I’m trying something new. When I first started using an agile approach, I captured my experience.
Most people have a hard time being consistent in their journaling. The key is committing to a time. I journal early in the morning when things are quiet and I’ve yet to get into the busyness of the day.
When I journal, I address one or more of the following questions:
I journal 2-3 times per week. It normally takes me about 5-8 minutes to complete each journal entry.
For years, I wrote my personal journal with paper and pen. A few years ago, I started journaling digitally with an Apple app called Day One. My journal synched to DropBox. For most days, I journal using my I-Mac. If I am out of town, I use my iPad. Another great application for journaling is the web-based tool EverNote.
I tag project posts with project tags such as “Membership Marketing Project”. Using the project tags, I can easily retrieve and review all the journal posts for a single project.
Not only do I tag the posts with project tags, I add knowledge area tags such as scope management, cost management, and risk management. This allows me to retrieve all the posts related to a single knowledge area.
Give journaling a try for 21 days. Let me know about your experience. Happy journaling!
Question: Have you ever kept a project journal? How have you benefited?
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