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PM Tools: Freeform Databases – OneNote versus Evernote

When I first started managing projects, I knew the importance of keeping all of my project information in an organized tool.  Particularly email, notes to myself, copies of memos, status reports, team info, etc.  I first started with a product called Infotree from Nextword .  This allowed me to capture my emails (incoming and outgoing) by cut and pasting them into a tree-like hierarchy.  I did the same for nearly every document I created.  Worked well, outside of the manual cut and pasting.


Problem occurred when I was on a project that the client would only allow us to use their computers (due to security reasons).  Well I wasn’t going to install my program on their computer.  That is when I came across a program called Treepad .  Same concept as Infotree, but the business edition allowed me to run it off of a thumb drive.  Problem solved.  Matter of fact, I had even upgraded to the Enterprise 12 GB version.  Knowing that my 8 GB stick could hold a lot of info, plus it allowed me to open 5 files at a time and search between them.  I created the following databases:

  • Client database with a tree structure for email (inbox and outbox), files, memos, status reports, issues and resolutions, risk, etc.
  • PM database with PM articles and PM templates that were instantly available to me.
  • Administrative database with info from the firm I worked at
  • Software database with particulars on the software we were implementing, usually large ERP projects.


Then I started playing with Microsoft OneNote (see ) the biggest OneNote fan site.  This is probably one of the most under rated products by Microsoft.  Just a fantastic program.  It allowed me to setup a Project notebook with individual folders relating to project specific needs.  But the biggest time saver was the OneNote icon in Internet Explorer and Outlook.  I could just click the icon and my email would be automatically saved, same with any page in Internet Explorer.  It also could capture audio and was easily used within the Microsoft office suite.


But once again, I could use it on my laptop, but not necessarily on the client’s computer.  Then I found Evernote .  Evernote gave me the ease of copying info from Outlook, Internet Explorer, but also MS Word, it could find text in graphics and pictures.  But most important of all, it could run from my thumb drive, Internet Explorer, even an iPhone (if I had one).  When I posted the Question “OneNote versus Evernote” from a PM perspective, I received the following tweet from Stan Scott, Twitter: “Evernote lives everywhere (PC, Mac, Web, iPhone), not OneNote. I find ON’s hierarchy confusing. EN’s tags and notebooks work”.  From Dan Fernandez on Twitter: stated “At present I have only used Evernote for personal stuff. I really like OneNote’s canvas approach for content.”


Now the question is to you, what are your thoughts OneNote vs. Evernote for the Project Manager?  Or is it one of the other tools that I have mentioned, or something different altogether?  Now I am referring to tools for just you as the PM, not Sharepoint for the whole team.



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