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Pawel Brodzinski on Software Project Management

PM Tools I Use: Sticky Notes

PM Tools I Use: Sticky Notes post image

I recently asked for some  feedback from you not only to make use of a copy of Confessions of a Public Speaker (if you haven’t read it yet then go, do it now). I wanted you to get involved a bit in choosing what I’m writing about here on Software Project Management. The first thing I’ve drawn from the pool of ideas you submitted is project management tools I use.

Yes, I write a review of project management software from time to time but these aren’t usually applications I use for a longer period. Sure, it takes a few days to prepare and write a review but that’s just playing with the app especially when compared to tools I use every day for months. Or years.

PM Tools I Use will be different from reviews. I’ll write about things which sometimes aren’t even considered as PM tools but I use them and I like using them. Or hate using them but still use them.

The first choice here is obvious. Ladies and gentlemen… a sticky note!

I already hear your thoughts “he’s going to jump onto Kanban bandwagon once again.” Well, sort of. I’ll put it at the end so you guys tired with Kanban may just leave earlier before the last act which always bores you to death.

What do I use sticky notes for?

  • Writing down any short message I hear while having a phone conversation. A number. A date. An email address. A meeting place. A price. Anything. My memory is fish-like. In 10 seconds I forget what I was told especially when it’s some tiny detail I really need. A sticky note is like hard disk for me. Permanent memory. Without this invention the whole IT industry would fall apart if you ask me.
  • Password passing. There’s virtually no better way to pass a newbie password to her freshly installed computer than writing it down on a sticky note. You can try to tell them the password or log in by yourself but if your admins are anything like mine and they are able to generate only 30+ characters long, completely random passwords your mind will blow if you try either of those.
  • Delayed reminders. Have you ever had one of these moments when you are in the middle of saving the world and you have to dedicate yourself completely to the task but someone asks whether you’ve sent that important email you of course forgot to send? In these cases I always say “will do” and to make it sound less like “I’ll tell you I’ll do but I’ll forget about that in a second, you bet” I also write it down on a sticky note. Another good thing is this makes me actually sending this damn email when the world is finally saved (once again).
  • Important information backup. Important information ends up in my inbox. Most of them. Usually. If nothing unexpected happens. I may find them there. Most of them. Usually. If nothing unexpected happens. By accident a lot of important data also manages to get into one of these sticky yellow things which are all over my desk. And you know what? I’m like monkey – it’s enough I remember something has been written down on a sticky note and I’m faster finding the right note in a stack than finding the right email which is there. At least most of them are. Usually. If nothing unexpected happens. And I do it without any search engine whatsoever. Google is overrated anyways.
  • Kanban/Scrum board token. Hey Kanban haters out there, feel free to skip this point. I guess Kanban was invented solely to show how cool sticky notes are. It’s basically impossible to do Kanban without sticky notes. And yes, you caught me, this is the only reason why I like Kanban so much.

You can also use for a number of other reasons. Try to throw a block of them at a colleague next desk. That doesn’t have much to do with project management but, believe me, that’s funny as hell. Not sure whether your colleague share that opinion though.

Sticky notes are cool because they’re always at hand and they’re sticky. And I don’t believe you don’t use them.

in: project management

2 comments… add one

  • Joshua Lewis January 6, 2010, 10:13 pm

    I use a small notepad for a lot of the applications you use sticky notes. I used to use lots of pieces of paper, but I found I would often lose them (especially when I was studying at university). Now everything is contained in one book. I use different books for different ‘life spheres’, i.e. I have one for personal stuff, one for work, one for a committee I’m a member of etc

  • Pawel Brodzinski January 7, 2010, 1:16 am

    Actually every form of a stack of pieces of paper (notepad, sticky notes, one big sheet lying on the desk etc) works the same way – as a place when you put quick, dirty notes.

    I ended up with sticky notes but I didn’t make this decision very consciously. It was just the most convenient for me.

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