The PRINCE2 product itself isn’t that practical for me but I’ve found if you’re running an effective personal time/task management system that includes note-taking or journaling, it can be a very powerful tool in the Project Manager’s toolkit.
Why use a Daily Log?
There are a couple of good reasons for capturing daily log information.
Your memory isn’t perfect…
Project management systems are great at capturing issues, risks, defects etc but you still need to have a place to record bits and bobs of information that aren’t captured in these logs because let’s face it, your memory isn’t perfect and it was you’d be making a living as a texas hold’em player. A couple of uses for a log or diary could be to record:
- Staff member performance notes
- Interview notes
- Meetings notes
- Telephone conversations
Recording notes while they are fresh in your head is a good idea as it can be a day or so before you get the chance to write up the notes or meeting minutes and in the meantime life happens, you get distracted by the next fire and you end up forgetting some key information.
…neither is theirs…
Another reason to keep a daily log is because the people you work with also don’t have perfect memories and sadly, sometimes less than perfect motives. Aside from fail aspirations of late night poker championships, project life is busy and people can quickly forget important details to important discussions.
…notes are a record of history.
And finally there is also one other very good reason to keep notes – court. Sadly some projects end up in court, so keeping a professional diary can work in your favour. Obviously this will depend on what country and/or jurisdiction you are operating in but your original notes can be considered documents produced during the course of the project and maybe considered admissible in court. If prepared correctly your notes can even be considered factual over that of a witness.
Is My Daily Log Admissible in Court?
If you’re working in a particularly litigious environment, seek legal advise on what information you have to keep and in what format. For example some of the following components maybe required to make a legally admissible paper-based daily log.
- Use a book style note book (so the page order is maintained)
- Start writing on a new page
- Identify names, date, time and topic of discussion
- Use the same pen throughout the entry
- Cross out empty space with a “z” line (so you can’t add further notes later)
- Sign or initialise and date bottom of page