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JPL

Keeping an Engineering Journal

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As a new PE I was wondering if anyone had any ideas on "Best practices" of documenting the history of your engineering work. Some of the other PE s that I work with tote a journal around so they can write down every thing that they feel is important. Before I go out and buy one of those books I would like to here if others have better methods. :mf_followthroughfart:

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notebooks have always worked well for me.

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one stop shopping when you go back to looking for notes for patentability/patent-infringement/questions later on a project is key.

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Journals are probably your best bet. Documenting phone calls, revisions and calculations with notes etc has always worked for me. When the doo doo hits the fan, you'll have evidence in writing that something did or did not occur. Its cheap insurance and about the only way someone like me can keep everything straight.

I like the graph paper types of notebooks, often times a sketch will have to do in order to show someone what you're proposing. Keep the old ones around for a few years, just in case.

Hope this helps.

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Make sure you date everything. When I kept notes on patentable designs, I dated and initialed everything, even if it was in my notebook.

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Depending on how you 'share' that information, anything you write down and maintain as your engineering record is discoverable under subponea.

I think journal is a good idea - just don't be casual or cavalier with your collection of notes. :)

JR

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Thanks for the Feedback guys.

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I transfer my notes from meetings etc. to Microsoft OneNote (which is part of Office, or can be bought for $ 25). that way it is backed up in case you lose your notes, and you can get rid of the obsolete ones. Even better when you have networked laptops and have it avaiable on site etc. this way I have the information on all my projects at once, and also can copy&paste to emails etc. Obviously this depends on how you work in general, more with paper or more with PC. OneNote also would be good in the meeting to take notes - again depends on your comfort level. In outlook you also can send emails to OneNote to keep track of all communication of one project (I only use 1% of OneNote capabilities...).

When you are concerned about legal issues, patents etc., you should have a better solution. Like the meeting minutes since every participant accepts them by not objecting. I don't see much value in court with notes that you wrote yourself to prove your point. It is like me arguing the moon doesn't exist since it is written on the internet (on the website I created myself). but for really being court-proof, you should get professional advice or the company should consult an attorney to have a policy how to handle those things.

i avoid the phone. first I'm too lazy to take notes, and then again it is my version of the story which is useless in court. an email where the client tells you to save money on the chiller despite you writing that it will cost him operating money is better when the client later complains the chiller is inefficient :-)

Edited by HerrKaLeun

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a couple years ago I started buying a yearly hardback diary (from staples) kind of like a contractors diary, and I keep notes of most things work related, its come in handy several times already, I think it would be neat to look back on after 20 years and take a stroll through memory lane

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