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  • Moving tasks from project lists to next actions

    I am currently using Outlook on the desktop and Pocket Informant on my PocketPC. The problem I am running into is where to store later actions in a project. If I know that project A has steps 1-5, and I put #1 on the next action list, where do I put #2-4? And is there some easy way to move them from there to my next actions category? I'm missing something important here...

  • #2
    Hi fncll,
    Some folks, myself included, will simply list the NAs in the Project task, then when you need to create the context-based NA, you simply highlight the NA and tap Edit|Create Task from Selection. I'm not sure when Alex of PI fame introduced that feature (5.0?) but it has helped tremendously.

    Another method that works fairly well is to switch your task view to hierarchical tasks. Then you can drag the NAs under the project task. This whole process is discussed in the manual so take a look if you haven't already.

    HTH

    Comment


    • #3
      Where did the idea come from that action lists can only include Step 1 in a project if you have 5 steps?

      Unless the 5 steps can only be done sequentially, such a system seems arbitrary and potentially inefficient. If you could do any of 5 actions, seeing all of them on an actions list should help you best choose one, given time available, energy available, etc.

      The important rule is that there must always be at least one next action defined for a project, or else it will stall. Lots of times, there are many potential "next" actions that all have to be done.

      -andersons

      Comment


      • #4
        Critical Path

        This is one of the issues that has bothered me with many of the personal planning systems that are out there today. No understanding of the resource critical path. While GTD goes much farther than anyone to determine what the next action is, no personal planning system that I've found allows you to track the resource critical path of a project. Sure you could use Microsoft Project, but I'm not sure that's the best method.

        I know a lot of people use basic outliners, but they miss the critical path element. I've been playing with Project@Hand on my palm and so far I like it though it can be a bit quirky.

        One solution is to go ahead and put any non-resource-critical path task on your next action list and review your project plan any time you complete any of the tasks...

        Comment


        • #5
          I meant sequential and dependent

          I was talking about sequential, dependent items. Almost all of the projects I work on have items which have to be done in sequence... I was wondering where people were keeping their lists of actions which can't yet be accomplished and making them simply available for movement to the proper context when the previous action is complete.

          Someone really needs to write a GTD application.

          Comment


          • #6
            They did..... ECCO Pro

            ECCO Pro, a PIM from years ago is perfect for GTD implementation. Though it's no longer sold or supported, I still use it. In ECCO folders (the data) are independent from how they are viewed (outlines). Any view can contain items from multiple folders.

            I have a view called Next Actions. In my projects folders, there is a colum called "Do" If I place a checkmark in that column, then any task automatically shows up on the Next Actions view. I can check one task, several, or all of them.

            It's hard to explain if you've never seen it, but it was "the bomb" for GTD. Unfortunately it died after being bought by a larger company. Pity.

            Comment


            • #7
              Ecco & GTD

              James Kendrick has just posted an article about the thriving Ecco user community that has survived the death of the company that developed it and he points to a GTD template for Ecco that might be just what you're looking for.

              http://jkontherun.blogs.com/jkonther..._ecc.html#more

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jpm
                While GTD goes much farther than anyone to determine what the next action is, no personal planning system that I've found allows you to track the resource critical path of a project.
                If your projects are huge and have an extremely complicated critical path (enterprise-level stuff), don't you need project planning software? Enterprise-level projects go beyond what you can expect from a "personal planning system."

                However, for reasonably complicated personal-level projects with multiple dependencies, say "Remodel house," I'm happy with the capabilities of Life Balance (e.g., hierarchical planning, sequential dependencies). I have to think carefully about how to organize my project according to these features -- some outlines work better than others. But I imagine this is true of any tool. Once I have organized the project, tasks show up in their proper context lists, and appropriate review-level questions show up in their proper context lists. I've been able to organize and review multi-year-level projects.

                Originally posted by fncll
                I was talking about sequential, dependent items. Almost all of the projects I work on have items which have to be done in sequence... I was wondering where people were keeping their lists of actions which can't yet be accomplished and making them simply available for movement to the proper context when the previous action is complete.

                Someone really needs to write a GTD application.
                It's been done. I feel like a broken record here, but Life Balance does this easily with the "complete subtasks in order" scheduling feature. You never have to manually check to see if a Next Action listed under a project appears in the proper context list; set it up once, in a natural planning way (outline), and you're set. Tasks do not appear on your context list until necessary prerequisite tasks are completed. And any task can be assigned to any context list, which can include, or be included in, other contexts as well. Yet the "big picture" plan of the project is clear in the outline view of the project.

                Also, parent tasks (such as a project outcome) don't show on context lists until all child tasks are complete. This works great to help you know when you need to define a new next action, when you can't plan all the steps until you know results from previous ones. To be sure I recognize an item as an undoable project when it shows up, I use a standard form, e.g., "?Data collection software complete?" When this shows up on my list @Office, I immediately know that it's not done, but all subtasks are complete, so I need to switch to outline view and decide my next action. I don't need to wait for a Weekly Review to catch this.

                -andersons

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by andersons
                  It's been done. I feel like a broken record here, but Life Balance does this easily with the "complete subtasks in order" scheduling feature. You never have to manually check to see if a Next Action listed under a project appears in the proper context list; set it up once, in a natural planning way (outline), and you're set.

                  -andersons
                  I agree, now if only there was a PPC version...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    GTD Software

                    No, it hasn't "been done." There is software that is more or less useful with more or less customization, but nothing dedicated to GTD. I'm not particularly interested in going back to a Palm, and as far as I can tell even LifeBalance users are here talking about things they would like to be able to do.

                    I would like to see a GTD Pim that had cross-platform PDA clients...

                    Nevertheless, I do appreciate those who bothered to respond to my actual question at the beginning of the thread

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      GTD-specific software

                      We developed ResultsManager as a GTD-specific solution for those who are mostly desk-based and use MindManager visualisation software on their PC. This lets you draw projects graphically, so that you can do your project thinking in one hit and set out the sequence in which things need to be done. ResultsManager then feeds the Next Actions to you only as they become "doable". ResultsManager is not aimed at professional project managers, but understands enough about project planning to fit in the gap between high level objectives and next actions, and solves the issues that are created by trying to capture a project just in terms of its next actions. You can get a trial from www.gyronix.com.

                      Best regards

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        No, it hasn't "been done." There is software that is more or less useful with more or less customization, but nothing dedicated to GTD. I'm not particularly interested in going back to a Palm, and as far as I can tell even LifeBalance users are here talking about things they would like to be able to do.
                        If you have actually tried Life Balance, then I think you've missed the feature that does exactly what you asked for in your original question on the thread. You can define all the steps you know in a project, see only the one you need to do, and "automatically" have your context list updated with the next step when you finish the previous.

                        I understand not wanting to go back to Palm; I almost ditched mine because the built-in software lacks basic functionality.

                        Life Balance users do talk about additional features they would like. That's the nature of software: users always want more features. But I think it can do everything important for GTD. What functionality do you think is missing?


                        Nevertheless, I do appreciate those who bothered to respond to my actual question at the beginning of the thread
                        I realize that Life Balance does not currently support the PPC platform. However, it does do exactly what you asked for.

                        -andersons

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Search the forum

                          Search these forms for LifeBalance-- read the questions. It may well be the tool most suited to realizing GTD, but it isn't without its share of problems and deficiencies according to the users posting here, and it certainly wasn't designed directly for GTD.

                          And it's of no help to PocketPC users, who may have many other legitimate reasons for choosing a platform that is-- for their purposes-- presumably superior to Palm OS.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: GTD-specific software

                            Originally posted by NickDuffill
                            We developed ResultsManager as a GTD-specific solution for those who are mostly desk-based and use MindManager visualisation software on their PC. This lets you draw projects graphically, so that you can do your project thinking in one hit and set out the sequence in which things need to be done. ResultsManager then feeds the Next Actions to you only as they become "doable". ResultsManager is not aimed at professional project managers, but understands enough about project planning to fit in the gap between high level objectives and next actions, and solves the issues that are created by trying to capture a project just in terms of its next actions. You can get a trial from www.gyronix.com.

                            Best regards

                            Nick,
                            Seems like a great program, but GTD is $69 and mind manger is not that expensive, but almost $300 for the ResultsManager?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Value of ResultsManager

                              Yes, and the 2-day GTD seminar is $600 and coaching can be more. It really comes down to how you measure the value of your time and productivity. ResultsManager is not at the cheap end of the market as it is a sophisticated implementation system that can work across teams too.

                              The dollar exchange rate is not helping any of us at the moment either

                              Best regards
                              Nick

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