What does your note-taking system look like?

I was impressed by @j19sch’s recent post about note-taking:

Loads of subtle details highlight the importance of capturing notes against planned actions.

How about you, how do you use note-taking at your work? What does your note-taking system look like? How does it help with your testing efforts?


My note taking strategy is non-existent. If I can’t remember something and it’s not written down in Slack, Jira or on a shared Mural board, it must not have been that important :stuck_out_tongue:

Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

  • very helpful for performance reviews to have a note book of projects big and small by just having notes
  • very good place to capture retrospective actions that got assigned to you
    During the lockdown I switched from paper to wiki.
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I still prefer the traditional method of taking notes on paper with a pencil. I enjoy making lists and find it satisfying to check off completed tasks, sometimes going as far as creating lists of my lists. This habit began during the pandemic when I first started working from home and wanted to keep track of my daily accomplishments. It also helps me accurately fill out my timesheet, especially when I have numerous projects on the go, and have not recorded my work hours.

Making notes helps me keep track of what I have tested so far, what issues I have encountered, and how I have resolved them. This can be useful when I need to retest a particular feature. It helps me document the steps I followed during testing before I formally write the test case.
I frequently refer back to my handwritten notes for test data, if I didn’t save it electronically in the project folder on my computer. My notes also help me identify areas (bug clustering) that need improvement and can help me suggest changes to improve the software’s quality.

Although I used to find Bullet Journaling and its setup tedious, after watching a video on the topic, I was able to set up my own journal in no time. So thank you for that!

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I need to make one. That is a mega idea

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You’re supposed to take notes and have a system for it?

These days if on Teams I will try and do action in the middle of the call where possible so I dont have to take a note.

I do write things down for f2f stuff and occasionally go back and read them later and tick them off if they are done.

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Cliché to say but it depends what I’m doing and / or where I am. I have notebooks, note app on phone, sticky notes and sometimes directly into a word document. I’ve also used Twitter to post my thoughts as they occur but I don’t think that really worked well. They all get used for different things but all are a basis for me writing something up later. The second visit can lead to me having different insights, clarifying my thinking etc.

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I take really crappy notes in terms of tidiness. But it helps me connect the dots later when I’m thinking solutions and strategies.

I take notes A LOT. Usually in the form of concepts with dependencies.

I still use an A5 paper notebook + biro, and also a notetaking app (Bear in my case).
During a writing workshop by Johanna Rothman, I tried numerous apps on Mac and/or iPad, but I returned to Bear in the end. That one cannot still create tables, but at least I know how to work with it and it has a great and simple way to tag notes, instead of forcing the notes into a folder structure.

About that word system… I tag notes with what they are (blog post, idea, conference proposal…) and what they are about (testing, git, unicode, programming… ).
And, well, that’s that. Not sure if this qualifies as a ‘system’.


I’m working on an article myself.
Who is interested can take a look at my draft.
I appreciate any feedback.

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Not pictured: Lists of test sessions, articles and drafts, mentoring work


Here is a quick summary of my note-taking system:

  • Testing Notes: XMind, Yattie, Word 365
  • Important Pointers, Pre-Meeting Notes, To-Dos: OneNote, Evernote, To-Do Tab, Microsoft To Do App, Teams Channels (Private with self)
  • Reflections: Physical Journal, Diary