Should 1 person or entire team be writing in the engineering notebook?

I’ve seen some differing opinions on whether one dedicated person or the entire team should be working on writing entries in the engineering notebook. I’ve heard that if everyone on the team writes in the notebook, then it demonstrates to the judges that everyone is participating thoroughly during meetings and has a consistent level of understanding about what is occurring. I’ve also heard that judges will not care whether one person or the entire team does the notebook, and it only matters what the quality of the end result is. What is your opinion on this?


The best teams I’ve coached used a shared electronic document to make notes throughout meetings so that everyone, regardless of location, could be interacting real time. Pictures taken throughout a meeting were printed at the end of the day. One person had the responsibility of working during the next meeting or in between to transcribe the team’s notes and insert pictures appropriately. To me it’s not necessarily about seeing everyone’s handwriting, but in the details of what each person has done.

Johnny and Billy did x, while Suzi worked on y > The team did this and this.


On my team we only have one person who mainly does the notebooking process. But, there is many pros and cons to either one.

Having only one person working on it gives that individual more room to explore and be creative with the work they are doing. This also can allow the individual to bring it home and work on it there. The downside to this is that if that person is busy one week catching up and working on it can take lots of time and you might fall behind, also all the responsibilities of using the design process fall onto this individual.

Working on it as a team gives you a sense of how you and your team need to work together and communicate how you have been using the design process throughout building your robot. This gives your entire team a better idea of how to answer interview questions and it allows all the responsibilities to not fall onto one individual. The problems with this is that if there are to many people working on it, it might get a little chaotic and cause problems between members. You also have less room to be super creative without talking and working with your team, and bringing it with you to work on it wont be able to be a regular thing.

I’ve seen people do it both ways. It’s really up to you and your team. If there is someone who is willing to put lots of extra effort into the notebook then great, if your all willing to put extra effort into the notebook then that’s also great. You really just want to make sure whatever you decide to do it’s done well and is organized in a good way. Hope this helps you out a bit!

If you need suggestions for your notebook check out this. Questions for Notebook


For one team, they have 1-2 notebookers, and each team member at the end of a meeting fills out a Google form and upload pictures as well. From that, all the notebookers really have to do is CTRL + C and CTRL + V every form submission and its pictures into a Google Drive with some minor modifications. Pretty much, our notebook is semi-automated with human intervention which is really efficient. Only downside is that everyone has to contribute two cents a meeting, which some just don’t.


I am the only notebooker on my team. Creating a notebook of the optimum quality alone is hard. Never before have I undertaken anything like it. Nothing has taken near as much of a toll on my mental health as the work required. But at the same time, taking the initiative to learn something like this is better done alone or in pairs because attempting to do it with 4 or 5 other people would be tough.

I feel that the team should help, but there should be 1 or 2 people in charge. In my optimal notebooking system, there are two notebook managers who guide their team in the documenting process as well as share the work to create the final product. The builder learns how to document building and testing from the notebook managers, the designer learns how to document brainstorming from the notebook managers,etc. And the two notebookers work together to create the final product. That way everybody participates, too much pressure is not placed on a single person, and the team is being pushed to be the best it can be.


The way we do our note book is that we have one person who writes most of the journal but each member will write specific parts that they specialize in. For example as the builder/designer I will write and elaborate on entries specific to things I built and how I came up with the desighn.


The way we do notebooks is that at every meeting, we have a trash sheet, which is where all of our drawings, designs, writing, problems, and often time dumb drawings go for the day (they are dated, we’ve made that mistake before). We then take turns moving the real notebook from house to house (usually stays at a house for 1-2 weeks) and it is that person’s job to transfer the trash sheet into the notebook (and take out the non-relevant items).

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