Create a Searchable Solution History

23 Jun, 2010 By: Robert Green

CAD Manager's Toolbox: Follow this documentation plan, and when problems reappear, you'll remember how to solve them.

How many times have you heard yourself saying the following? "I know I solved that very same problem last year, but I can't remember how I did it!"

I admit that I've found myself in that situation a number of times, but I've also found a good way to create a searchable history document that helps me rediscover the solution. Here's how I tackle the problem, in four simple steps.

Keep a Diary

Simply enter a pithy sentence for each technical task you perform, and save in your preferred word-processing format. Focus on briefly documenting the actions completed, as in these examples:

  • "Reset plotter defaults to stop borders from being clipped off."
  • "Created a login script to automatically set CAD profiles for users."

Annotate the Diary Entries

To jog your memory later, add an explanation after each entry in the diary to remind you of what you did, like this: "Reset plotter defaults to stop borders from being clipped off. [Solution: Edited default page size parameters to 0,0 and 34.14,23.06 and saved into PMP file for AutoCAD setups.]"

Search for Answers

A year from now, when you can't remember what you did, you can search your diary for key words like "plotter" or "border" or "clipped" and find the solution — which will trigger your memories of solving the problem.

Generate Reports

Your diary now serves as the basis for a great weekly or monthly report! I've found that my technical diaries have helped me look smart because I can find things I did years ago with almost no effort — plus, they help me to write better reports for my clients. I hope this approach helps you as well.

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About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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