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Plans and GTD

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  • Plans and GTD

    Any advice will help me guys! Basically I have a need to develop annual plans in my job with a variety of generic and specific activities dated. The normal format might be an excel sheet that shows the plan for the year on a timeline. I may then have an associated budget.

    Firstly, planning never ends for me. I seem to constantly look for the perfect plan, which can stop me taking action. Partly as I am a perfectionist, partly as the plans need updating every month or so as things change. This encourages constant tinkering! Not sure how GTD can help with this chronic symptom!

    Secondly, I really can't see how to fit such large scale plans into GTD.

    Should I treat "Implement marketing plan" as a project, with the plan itself in project support?

    If so, I will end up with many many sub projects. Which I guess I add to my lists at the weekly review?

  • #2
    Originally posted by neil007 View Post
    Firstly, planning never ends for me. I seem to constantly look for the perfect plan, which can stop me taking action. Partly as I am a perfectionist, partly as the plans need updating every month or so as things change. This encourages constant tinkering! Not sure how GTD can help with this chronic symptom!
    I don't see this as a problem. That's how planning is done. Nobody can predict the future. Plans always have to be updated, after each turn of the game. Do you think Napoleon stopped thinking about Moscow after leaving Paris? Of course not. After each skirmish, each day of battle, he updated his plan. That's not a chronic symptom, that's how universe works. Constant change.

    Originally posted by neil007 View Post
    Secondly, I really can't see how to fit such large scale plans into GTD.
    The plan itself is a document in either general reference or project support.

    The planning is an area of responsibility.

    The planned activities are projects, next actions and calendar items.

    Maybe the purpose behind the plan is a 30,000 ft level goal of yours.

    Originally posted by neil007 View Post
    Should I treat "Implement marketing plan" as a project, with the plan itself in project support?
    If you would do this, all of this is just one GTD project, wherein your marketing plan is the same as the project plan. Maybe this is feasable, at least it does not contradict the logic of GTD.

    Originally posted by neil007 View Post
    If so, I will end up with many many sub projects.
    Like DA himself I am not a big fan of sub-projects, after all, what's theire purpose (if you have your project support in order)?

    Originally posted by neil007 View Post
    Which I guess I add to my lists at the weekly review?
    At the weekly review you make sure your lists are up-to-date. That doesn't mean you start writing your lists at the weekly review. You write them constantly. Weekly review means to pause for a second and clean everything up. Then you engage in higher level thinking to make sure you are steering your life (and lists) in the right direction.

    If you do not do your weekly review regularly, your GTD is doomed.
    Last edited by Cpu_Modern; 09-02-2011, 08:23 AM. Reason: perfectionism in formatting

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    • #3
      I think Cpu_Modern gave a good answer as to how GTD works at the level of 30,000 feet down. I would just add that it may be that part of your problem is cultural: you are required to produce A PLAN and IT SHOULD LOOK LIKE THIS (yes, I know I'm shouting). Only you can know how seriously such documents are taken within your organization, who looks at it, how accountable you are for what it says, et cetera. In most organizations, my advice would be to do your job using GTD, and if somebody wants a document, make a document for them. Double that for mission statements. May seem cynical, but you've got to swim in the water you're in.

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      • #4
        For the presentation, I like the one page project manager. It's an excel based format for presenting your plan and budget and resource assignments against a timeline. I have no affiliation with them. There is a template on their website.

        www.oppmi.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by neil007 View Post
          I seem to constantly look for the perfect plan, which can stop me taking action.
          That's... interesting. But that's related to the Natural Planning Method and all that good stuff -- it's important that all the stakeholders (that is, you, and whomever you are producing the plan for, and quite possibly anyone else impacted by the plan) get onto the same page about what 'the perfect plan' is and what it looks like.

          So, yeah, I'd treat 'draft annual plan' as a project, and I'd take pains to make the planning of that project as transparent as possible to the other involved parties.

          A year-long plan is sort of pushing at the envelope that GTD likes to keep projects scaled to. It may be worthwhile to intentionally keep it kinda sketchy at the resolution of one full year, and really flesh it out at the quarterly or even monthly level. But those are probably not the sorts of decisions you can or should make unilaterally.

          You will most probably end up with lots and lots of sub-projects. But with things like annual plans, it's often the case that the majority of those projects are not active all at the same time. Sometimes they are, but that tends to be unusual. One of the important purposes of an annual plan, maybe its only real purpose, is to give you the perspective to decide which projects need to be active at any given time, and which ones can or should be done later on.

          It's an interesting case, and one I think GTD is actually very well suited to. Let us know how it turns out for you.


          Cheers,
          Roger

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by neil007 View Post
            Firstly, planning never ends for me. I seem to constantly look for the perfect plan, which can stop me taking action. Partly as I am a perfectionist, partly as the plans need updating every month or so as things change. This encourages constant tinkering! Not sure how GTD can help with this chronic symptom!
            Secondly, I really can't see how to fit such large scale plans into GTD.
            Should I treat "Implement marketing plan" as a project, with the plan itself in project support?
            If so, I will end up with many many sub projects. Which I guess I add to my lists at the weekly review?
            Plans do need tinkering, I would accept it as normal, and set up plan so it can be regularly update, and is a living document, not set in stone.
            Large scale plans can and do fit into GTD. I have four work areas of focus, two of which I have to develop the strategy, which is a plan for all the projects within that area of focus. So the strategy is a project in itself, and there are many projects to deliver that strategy. So yes, the marketing plan should be project plan in itself, with the plan in project support. Then the marketing plan will have both subprojects and projects to achieve it.
            For example, I look after an Odour Strategy. Separate projects I have identified to reduce odour emissions include several capital works projects, some smaller projects to collect and analyse monitoring information etc. Subprojects within the Odour Strategy project would include things like 'organise Sept strategy review mtg', or 'Presentation to Board', which are really focussed on coordinating, communicating the odour strategy and the progress being made.

            Comment


            • #7
              You will most probably end up with lots and lots of sub-projects. But with things like annual plans, it's often the case that the majority of those projects are not active all at the same time. Sometimes they are, but that tends to be unusual. One of the important purposes of an annual plan, maybe its only real purpose, is to give you the perspective to decide which projects need to be active at any given time, and which ones can or should be done later on.

              Thanks to all for thoughts. Roger on this issue of perspective is really what i seek. I could just put all my current projects to do with the strategy into GTD and then the not yet active ones into s/m . But then I cant see the whole picture 12 months out in a simple way with dates/deadlines etc.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Suelin23 View Post
                Plans do need tinkering, I would accept it as normal, and set up plan so it can be regularly update, and is a living document, not set in stone.
                Large scale plans can and do fit into GTD. I have four work areas of focus, two of which I have to develop the strategy, which is a plan for all the projects within that area of focus. So the strategy is a project in itself, and there are many projects to deliver that strategy. So yes, the marketing plan should be project plan in itself, with the plan in project support. Then the marketing plan will have both subprojects and projects to achieve it.
                For example, I look after an Odour Strategy. Separate projects I have identified to reduce odour emissions include several capital works projects, some smaller projects to collect and analyse monitoring information etc. Subprojects within the Odour Strategy project would include things like 'organise Sept strategy review mtg', or 'Presentation to Board', which are really focussed on coordinating, communicating the odour strategy and the progress being made.
                thats interesting. do you mean that 'Implement Odour Strategy' is a project and all associated projects are then sub projects. You imply that some are sub projects and some are seperate projects. How do you decided which are which.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have a few guidelines I like to use, like whether I am doing the work or delegating it to others, how big the work is, what deliverable it relates to etc.

                  The odour strategy main deliverable will be a document which I write. To reduce emissions, there will need to be a cover installed on a reactor and a chemical dosing plant installed, and chemical dosing trials (of which a report needs to be done). The first two are projects managed by others but which I play a key technical role, the third I am project managing and doing the work. All these three I consider to be separate projects, because they are very large, and there are very significant deliverables quite different from the strategy. I tend to always make delegated work a separate project, because it makes the filing easier for myself and the other person. These are fairly straightforward to make separate projects.

                  Then there are some pieces of work that are a bit harder to decide. For example, after getting confused with some of the dosing trials, I decided that I really needed to do a literature review to understand more about odour and how the chemicals help. And then I think I really need to know a lot more about odour in general and should broaden this to other odour information. This will be done by me, and could be part of the strategy or part of the chemical dosing. I could make it a stand alone project, but I only would do so if I was going to have a separate deliverable, eg if I decided that I was going to do a literature review report, then I would make it a separate project. But in the end I decided not to, and put the literature review on chemical dosing as a subproject of the chemical dosing trial work, and general literature review as a subproject of the strategy.

                  In practice I keep all my project plans (just for myself) in the one word document for the same area of focus. ie, the above projects will all be listed in the "Odour Plan" document. So its easy to find the info by searching, and easy to make new projects.

                  If I'm collaborating with others and they also want to see the plan, I'll keep a separate tidier version for everyone that only gets updated prior to meetings or agreed timelines, the one I keep for myself is 'live' and gets updated very often, usually I'll add to it or update it a little whenever I work on the projects. That way I can write any way I like in my version, and only have to worry about doing 'professional' writing in the group version.

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