Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Write everything down

One of the things I have been doing since the beginning of this project is writing down everything I have learned and keeping track of all the decisions, timelines, costs, etc. I've been trying to do this with everything in general because inevitably, about 20% of it comes in useful later in one way or another.
I've been using Google Drive to track this and created a folder for this purpose where I have put notes, spreadsheets, diagrams, pdfs, etc. Using SkyDrive, DropBox, etc would also work but I think Google Drive has a few advantages such as simultaneous editing by multiple people, revision history and better mobile app support.

Some of the things I've been writing down include:
  • A spreadsheet of bathroom fixtures with links to their cut sheets and installation guides.
  • Sketchup images of cabinetry configurations and the new window.
  • Agendas for meetings, along with follow up notes.
  • The contract.
  • A timeline of things we need to do.
  • A short day to day bullet point log of what has happened each day. I just started this yesterday and it might be duplicative of the blog, but we'll see.
Here are the main reasons for me to write things down. Most of these apply to other projects at home and at work too:
  • Interest: I take great curiosity in knowing how things work and this really tracks the details of the project, both at the time of it happening and for reminiscing later.
  • Record keeping: Should I need to refer back to something in the future, I know where to find it and what decision/thought we had at the time. Otherwise, I would be searching through my email, only have it on a piece of paper (who knows where), or not have it at all.
  • Future projects: If another project of similar character comes along in the future then I'll have this as a template that I can look through to remember what worked well, both in terms of how to do it as well as what things were useful to write down and what were not.
  • Sharing: This is probably one of the most immediately useful things. Instead of emailing attachments to +Liana, the contractor, the plumber and Keller and trying to make sure everyone has the most up to date version, it's far easier to put a document in the folder which I've shared with all of them and let them just look at it there. Whenever someone looks at it, it's the most up to date version too. I've also made it so that they can edit which means that for example if I make a list of items, someone else can change it, comment on it or add to it.