Especially in this post-COVID world of geographically distributed teams (otherwise known as ‘hybrid‘ teams), it’s even more important to create and keep a “team memory.”
The team memory is a physical and/or digital repository of information produced by the team including agendas, minutes, action plans, papers, correspondence etc.
Reasons for Keeping a Team Memory
Catch Up. Team membership may change, and the “team memory” allows for new members to catch up quickly. Peruse the files and ask questions of your teammates to fill in the gap(s).
Retrace Steps. The team may have to retrace its steps to track down problems or errors. Good record-keeping makes this easier.
Remember Decisions. Some team members may not remember what was decided at an earlier meeting. An up-to-date team memory allows for a quick check.
Prepare to Present. The team may have to prepare a presentation, and team memory makes this much easier.
Typically, the recorder keeps the team memory in a well-organized notebook or digital file and can easily access it at every team meeting.
Whenever I am on a team, I always take the team agenda (what we planned to do) and capture the “minutes” on the back side of the paper (see next page). I keep this one-pager (agenda/minutes) in my daily planner or as a digital file in my team folder. Although not the definitive source like the team memory, my file serves as a nice reminder of where we’ve been and where we need to go. You’d be surprised at how many times a team has looked to my notes as the “fallback” team memory!