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Complex Planning

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  • Complex Planning

    Hi All,

    Any advice welcome. I am working on a big marketing project (1 years, multiple team members). I have listed it as a project in GTD projects list and then proceeded to create a plan. My plan (which is constantly evolving) tries to break things into sub projects for different people, but its becoming difficult. Is GTD really scalelable enough for such projects. Im going to have to create 20, 30+ sub projects or projects (some delegated) just to keep up.

    Anyone else using GTD to deliver big plans?

  • #2
    Originally posted by neil007 View Post
    Hi All,
    Any advice welcome. I am working on a big marketing project (1 years, multiple team members). I have listed it as a project in GTD projects list and then proceeded to create a plan. My plan (which is constantly evolving) tries to break things into sub projects for different people, but its becoming difficult. Is GTD really scalelable enough for such projects. Im going to have to create 20, 30+ sub projects or projects (some delegated) just to keep up.
    It's what works for you, of course, but I think the first issue is project support. You need an overview, most likely separate from your GTD system. Do you need/like to use formal "project planning" tools like MS Project? Do outlines make sense to you? Another approach: with two colleagues, I planned a large (400 people), week-long scientific meeting using a master document approach where each of us put everything that was going on into the document. As our planning progressed, plans were confirmed, details were added, and roads not taken were deleted.

    Your project list should be a pointer to material you need to review in your weekly review each week. If you have 20-30 sub-projects moving in a given week, then that may be your entire life at work, especially if you are managing other people. On the other hand, if some of the sub-projects turn on later, they don't need to be in a weekly review provided you trust your system to tell you when they need to become active. Also, consider a delegated projects list for those sub-projects that you have delegated. That will help give you perspective on your real responsibilities, week to week. Hope this gives you some helpful ideas.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
      It's what works for you, of course, but I think the first issue is project support. You need an overview, most likely separate from your GTD system. Do you need/like to use formal "project planning" tools like MS Project? Do outlines make sense to you? Another approach: with two colleagues, I planned a large (400 people), week-long scientific meeting using a master document approach where each of us put everything that was going on into the document. As our planning progressed, plans were confirmed, details were added, and roads not taken were deleted.

      Your project list should be a pointer to material you need to review in your weekly review each week. If you have 20-30 sub-projects moving in a given week, then that may be your entire life at work, especially if you are managing other people. On the other hand, if some of the sub-projects turn on later, they don't need to be in a weekly review provided you trust your system to tell you when they need to become active. Also, consider a delegated projects list for those sub-projects that you have delegated. That will help give you perspective on your real responsibilities, week to week. Hope this gives you some helpful ideas.
      Thanks, some good points. You may have hit the key issue when you talk about an overview outside GTD. I have been using an outliner for projects with linked NAs. Problem is that I have gone gone the route of the overall plan sitting down in that outline - which makes it hard to work. When I create the "plan" I try to break it into projects etc, which perhaps isnt the best thing to do. Maybe i need to use excel or ms project.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by neil007 View Post
        Thanks, some good points. You may have hit the key issue when you talk about an overview outside GTD. I have been using an outliner for projects with linked NAs. Problem is that I have gone gone the route of the overall plan sitting down in that outline - which makes it hard to work. When I create the "plan" I try to break it into projects etc, which perhaps isnt the best thing to do. Maybe i need to use excel or ms project.
        I think the tool has to be right for you and right for your role in the project. MS Project is good for projects with well-defined sub-projects that must be completed in a certain order, often meeting a certain schedule. If your job in a marketing project is to hit target dates with ads, then it may be a useful tool. On the other hand, if your biggest challenge is riding herd on a creative team to get the concept nailed down, well, I don't think a GANNT chart is going to help there. Some people like the one-page project manager, an Excel spreadsheet which you can find on the web; there is a brief book too. I've looked at it but not used it. It might be about right for your project if you need some high-level scheduling but not tight control.

        Comment


        • #5
          Area of focus

          It's probably more of an area of focus than a single project, or maybe even a goal that has several areas of focus, each of which trigger specific projects and in turn next actions.

          That's why the sub-project aspect is getting out of control, you're trying to cram 3 horizons of focus into just 1. Your mind knows it's more complex than that (hence the phrasing of your question). As much as you need, as little as you can get by with.

          In my experience, is usually more effective to delegate/assign next actions to people instead of entire projects.

          And never forget the real key: you and your team, individually and as a group, doing weekly reviews. When everyone knows what the specific, clear outcome is and they know where they are in relationship to it, you can move forward. Without that, you might as well throw your oars to your paddle boat overboard because you won't be going anywhere.

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          • #6
            One page project plan

            Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
            I think the tool has to be right for you and right for your role in the project. MS Project is good for projects with well-defined sub-projects that must be completed in a certain order, often meeting a certain schedule. If your job in a marketing project is to hit target dates with ads, then it may be a useful tool. On the other hand, if your biggest challenge is riding herd on a creative team to get the concept nailed down, well, I don't think a GANNT chart is going to help there. Some people like the one-page project manager, an Excel spreadsheet which you can find on the web; there is a brief book too. I've looked at it but not used it. It might be about right for your project if you need some high-level scheduling but not tight control.
            Where can I find the one page excel spreadsheet? What is the book title?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by debbieg View Post
              Where can I find the one page excel spreadsheet? What is the book title?

              http://www.oppmi.com/ used to have the form as a free .xls download. Sorry, the author of the book now charges $10 for .xls but a pdf is free. If you are at all comfortable with spreadsheets, you can get the idea from the pdf and set up your own version- it's not rocket science.

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              • #8
                A lot of my problems stem from trying to use the GTD approach to manage a team and the wide range of projects undertaken. Maybe there is a better way

                Comment


                • #9
                  How big is your project?

                  To me, GTD project management is great, on the condition that its generally used for more self-evident projects. DA refers to some projects may need more horsepower - if they do, well then they do.

                  It does bring up though how big is your project. Are you planning with that takes a team of 15 a year to do? Is it as simple as a 2 or 3 step job? For 2 or 3 step type projects (which a lot are), then the natural planning model is fine. Some projects may need the full scale of planning power of a PRINCE2 or a PMBOK or a MSP. Just make sure the tool fits the job.

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