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SubEthaEdit for meeting notes and light project management
Merlin Mann | Oct 5 2004
SubEthaEdit’s document-sharing functionality must be seen to be believed. Groups of Mac users—in the same room or scattered across the world—can view and edit a single text-based document at the same time. In practice, this has some powerful applications, such as pair programming and shared conference notes. I’ve also had great luck using it as a unified project management tool, where a team’s meeting participants share notes, capture TODOs, and even provide back-channel information all in one or two simple text files.
A few tips
Here are some ideas and suggestions for using SubEthaEdit in your next meeting.
Simple Codes & the 30-Second Deliverable
You can create an attractive client deliverable in the meeting by using the tips above and, most importantly, employing a few simple codes to mark lines containing trackable action items. By adding a 3-character code to the beginning of a line, you create a scannable, GREP-able, sortable list of any items that need to be shared with the team or the client.
While working with Adaptive Path last year, we evolved a few of these simple codes to use in our shared notes (special thanks to Jesse James Garrett for much excellent input on this). The basic structure is to include as many of these items as necessary, per-line, in order:
So this would be a TODO for Jan that’s due this Friday:
While this would be a captured TODO that was completed (perhaps in the meeting)
Note the parentheses to indicate that this is a client TODO
Other codes can also be used to generate internal questions or informal followup
You get the idea. Come up with a system that’s intuitive and fast for folks on your team to use.
When the meeting’s over use SEE's GREP search or BBEdit (great use for Text Factories here) to copy out the lines containing your special codes, sort them, and you’ve got yourself an attractive punchlist for both teams to take away. If your notes are vanilla enough to share with the other side of the table, just run Markdown on the whole document and add a stock style sheet to pretty it up. 30-second deliverable.
Give it a spin in your next meeting. For myself, I think it’s a great tool and stress-reliever. With everyone sharing responsibility for the team’s notes, you get a faceted view of the project as well as a fascinating insight into how your colleagues are thinking.
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