The Perils of a Notebook

When I started as an Agile Coach, I bought a notebook, zipped my mouth shut, and brought it with me to every team meeting, jotting down observations of what I saw.  Some of my earlier posts talk about some ups and downs of doing so.  More recently, I’ve stopped bringing the notebook if I can avoid it.  There are two main reasons.

The first is that people get weirded out when you are standing there writing notes while you watch them.  The patient’s reaction to the therapist jotting a note is a comic cliche that you risk living out with each scribble.  You can temper this by talking to the team about what you are writing down, but that only helps so much.

The second, a more recent observation, is that writing even the slightest note really jars me out of connection with the team.  The writing may take only a second, but composing the thought and then running to jump back on the train with everyone else takes much longer.  For daily scrum, especially, I have come to trust that if something is important enough to jot down, I will remember it when I get back to my desk when stand-up ends.  I stumbled upon this by observing the first concern (left my notebook behind to avoid freaking out a team).  The feeling of connection was stronger and required so little effort.

So use that notebook carefully, I say!

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