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OneNote for teams

One of the benefits of OneNote is that you can collaborate around a shared notebook. This means that all members of a team can maintain their notes in one place, but…

However smart it is, you might find that the structure of the notebook is not equally logical to all members of the team. In this blog post, we want to inspire you to see, how a shared notebook can be structured in a way that makes sense for all.

Logical for one, not for all

Maria, Paul and Tiffany are working together in a project team, tasked with developing a new product.

From the get go, Maria made sure that the team used OneNote and she set up the joint notebook with the sections and pages she saw a need for.

After five months of collaboration, the team chooses to make use of the clever new Office 365 tool, Teams. When making the move to teams, it becomes apparent to Maria that she is the one who has been using the notebook the most. Paul even admits that he has kept his own notes in a separate place, because he couldn't navigate in the shared notebook. Tiffany too tells, that she's been having trouble finding notes where she thought they would be.

The team decided to change the notebook structure, so everyone can find their way around in it and so that everyone feels responsible for the new structure.

The team cleans up

To decide on the new structure, the team takes an hour out of their day and set up a mini-workshop. They gather some post-its in varying colors and find a whiteboard. Then they get to work writing down types of notes on green post-its. This produces post-its like "Meetings with external parties", "Links for inspiration", "Documents", "Tasks", "Morning meetings" and many more. One by one, they put up their post-its and read them out loud to one another.

After this they use pink post-its to group the green ones. It quickly becomes apparent, that there should be a section for meeting notes, as well as one for inspiration, and the teams keeps on until they have found a home for all the notes.

When the workshop has finished, the three get to work on migrating all of their existing notes into the new structure.

OneNote for teams

Five common for most

A mini-workshop like the one Maria and her colleagues had will be valuable to most, but if you do not have the time, here are some suggestions that most teams can benefit from:

  • An overview page: make a type of front page for the notebook, that can help new team members find their way around. The page can contain information about the team's members and purpose, but it can also contain a small intro text about how the notebook is structured and perhaps a link to a general OneNote guide
  • Meeting notes: pretty much all teams attend and set up meetings, which produce meeting notes. Make sure to have a section for these. Depending on how many meetings and the different types of meetings you'll be having, consider having a section group where each meeting type has its own section
  • Inspiration: For a team such as Maria's, who are developing a new product, there can be lots of inspiration to find. How have others secured funding and how do you make a good prototype? This type of inspiration can have its own section. The 'Print to OneNote' function is particularly useful for this purpose, as it allows you to save full PDF's, PowerPoints and more, directly in OneNote
  • Documentation: If, like Maria and Co., you are developing a product or perhaps making changes to an existing solution, it is a good idea to document your work. This way, you can always look back through past notes and see why the button had to be red and not yellow
  • Tasks: There are many good tools for controlling tasks and OneNote is one of them. Simply mark a task with the task tag and show if the task has been performed or not. You can even use other tags to track the importance or topic of the tasks.