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LiveBlog! Shmuel Gerhon’s Recording Your Story – Note Taking Principles

  • 23/07/2013
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  • Posted by EuroSTAR

Below is a live blog by Mauri Edo which was written during Shmuel Gershon’s webinar – ‘Recording Your Story – Note Taking Principles’ from Monday, 22nd July.

Shmuel’s webinar is part of the July Webinar Series. Follow the link for more information about the rest of the webinars coming up this week.

The recording will be available in the webinar archive soon.

According to Shmuel Gershon, today’s webinar host, “note taking is a crucial skill to nurture for testers”, and you could think that you’ve been note taking since the day you learned to write, so you have a whole life experience in this matter and hardly nothing can surprise you in this field.

Well, after hearing Shmuel talking for an hour about note taking and how he understands this skill, I’ll be reviewing and redesigning my note taking strategy after finishing this review as there’s been lots of good advice in this first session of EuroSTAR’s July Webinar Series!

Why take notes? What do they offer?

Notes are great introspection and reflection tools; taking notes can help you understand and remember details about the studied subject while keeping you focused on it. Notes make great communication devices that offer an alternative to traditional (and sometimes pointless) metrics. To quote the presenter, “good stories require good notes”.

I want to learn about note taking, where to start?

Shmuel is a “back to basics guy”, and so should you be in order to adjust your note taking skills. You have to build your note taking strategy by observation, feedback and practice; and keep in mind that it is a selfcalibrating process that requires musclememory.
Consciousness, intentionality and deliberation will help you light the way.

What do good notes contain?

Good notes contain whatever they have to contain to be considered “good” by you, their author. You have to allow yourself to write notes freely, they don’t have to be perfect, but adequate and fit for its purpose. What do Shmuel Gershon’s notes contain? They include steps, trials, problems, questions, solutions, etcetera, as well as a time context to understand if they are referred to the past, present or future. What note taking principles does the speaker defend? According to Shmuel, notes should be complete phrases, one-liners, with a clear intention and self-organizing, as well as be taken on the go, instead of executed upon events or after facts, to catch your thoughts on time.

Any tools recommended?

Another fantastic quote by today’s host regarding this topic, “the tool is not the master”. The best tools to take notes are the ones that don’t hold you back from taking them, keeping you in control of note taking and helping you make sense of the notes taken, instead of causing you laziness on note taking. As a side note, Shmuel is the man behind Rapid Reporter , a free note taking application to help testers 3 in the reporting process, making it easy and clear to take notes along the way, check it out if you can!

So, what do you think? Are you a good notetaker?
Is your note taking framework solid enough?
Do your note taking tools help you or they keep you away from actually taking notes? What are your note taking strategies? Let us know in the comments section!

Thanks Shmuel and all the attendees for a fantastic webinar! See you next time!


mauri_edo1Mauri Edo is a self-made testing professional currently working as a QA Manager at Netquest, a firm specialised in on-line market research services, from Barcelona to the world. Always ready to discover new things, Mauri is a huge defender of continuous learning, knowledge sharing and testing conversations. You can find him on Twitter as @Mauri_Edo and blogging at (Spanish) and at the Software Testing Club (English)

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