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People, Requirements Gathering

Back to paper and pencil

Not that my handwriting is anything to envy, but I feel upset sometimes when I find writing on paper a difficult exercise. I feel jealous of note takers. Some of my colleagues are notorious note takers. Note books and a ready pen appear by magic in their hands. They never forget to have a pen or pencil at an easy reach. This happens at any time of the day and lack of notice never affects them. They get up from their workstation and the notebook also gets ready to go with them.

I realized that one of the reasons of becoming dependant on the laptop is the lack of note taking. I felt smart that I can take notes on the fly using the Notepad, or the Word. However shoving your head in to the laptop screen is plain bad manners amongst some culture and in any case you lose some key interaction in the audience.

In a recent assignment I had an opportunity to do away with the laptop and conduct series of meetings with plain book and pen approach. In hindsight I am very satisfied and looking over the notes I realize that not only I have actually jotted down nearly all of required detail but also some interesting pieces of conversation in verbatim and some jottings relating to other aspects as well. By noting in the laptop on the fly I do not think I would have a better success.

Another interesting thing I noticed was during many of the meetings I had used the whiteboard in the meeting room to communicate something more intricate or depict something abstract as the part of the discussion. This proved very effective.

Now unless the situation actually demands use of a laptop or an electronic note taking becomes inevitable, as in a meeting relating to reporting status etc. I believe the paper and pencil approach is probably better.

A bit retrograde do you think?



8 thoughts on “Back to paper and pencil

  1. Very True……I always carry a lab Note book with me (leather bound of course) ( http://www.amazon.com/National-Texhide-Series-Record-56231/dp/B000DN87FO) and a Watermark pen in my pocket (http://www.amazon.com/Waterman-Lacquer-Retractable-Ballpoint-20021W/dp/B00013EVX8/ref=sr_1_2?s=office-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1335640902&sr=1-2) ………No wonder people call me I am from the old stone age….

    Posted by Arup | April 29, 2012, 12:52 am
  2. Absolutely correct. I have kept my notes of the last twelve years and when I go thru that at times I feel great about the fundamental approach and it is exciting and brings more confidence and work becomes easy.

    Posted by Pvvnathan | April 29, 2012, 7:45 am
  3. Well, old fogies like me do tend to use paper and pen, though I am not sure that it is the best way. Dinosaur or not, it still works.
    However, one nice story of which it reminds me deals with the space race between USA and USSR. The USA was struggling to create a pen that did not leak in space and wrote smoothly. After many years of limited success and the end of the Cold War, some of the NASA designers met their counterparts from the (then) USSR and asked them how they had managed. Simple, said the Russians, we used pencils!

    Posted by G Krishnamurthy | April 29, 2012, 9:25 am
  4. It is time you buy an iPad!

    Posted by Udayan Banerjee | April 29, 2012, 1:40 pm
  5. my children use desktop postit and ipad to note down stuff..i dont know if they will ever know of pen and paper for taking down notes.

    Posted by vibha | April 29, 2012, 3:09 pm
  6. Good observation….. very basic but so true

    Posted by Vikas Dwivedi | April 29, 2012, 11:38 pm
  7. From WM phones, laptop…my new android….Never able to let go the pen and pencil..the closest thing for me seems to be, jot down in a post it and scan in my android…..some times wondering whether the Wacom can solve this.May be this is why the stylus is back in Samsung NOTE.

    Posted by Mahadevan.P | April 30, 2012, 10:12 am
  8. 1) I too take notes using paper and pen and religiously stash away all the notebooks for an imagined future use. Using colors while taking notes also helps. Given one is flying low-fare airlines these days where the mean distance between one’s nosetip and the scalp of the passenger in front is forever declining….. laptops are becoming more difficult to use on flights. Hence while on a flight – nothing like a good old notebook to mull over, consolidate and re-prioritize.
    2) Recently at Abhu Dhabi I noticed a Brazilian client using advanced Mind Mapping techniques to take notes. She had an amazing set of stationery to help her cause.

    Posted by Arjun | May 1, 2012, 9:54 am

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