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GTD for programmers: too many NA's!

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  • GTD for programmers: too many NA's!

    I do software programming, and as I work I generate dozens of NAs per day (finding bugs to fix, thinking of things to test). I enter it in the company issue tracker but I also keep the NAs in my personal system. Two problems: there are so many actions (dozens, potentially hundreds); also my personal system gets out of sync with the company issue tracker.

    I'm thinking about leaving this stuff out of my personal system except for maybe a dozen at a time that I can realistically do within a couple of weeks. Just wondering if other software developers allow their personal GTD system to swallow a firehose of programming tasks.

  • #2
    Copy only YOUR tasks to your personal system.

    I do not know how big your company is and if you are the only developer to fix everything but I think you should leave all the issues in the company tracker. Copy only these tasks that you decide or are obliged to do to your personal system.

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    • #3
      If there's really that many of them no way can you be actively working on them all. You may want to consider treating the company tracker as an extension of Someday/Maybe. All you want to see in your personal system is the one issue you've currently checked out of the tracker. As you identify other issues, the NA there is "describe bug or suggest test in company tracker".

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      • #4
        testeq, desultory - thanks for the ideas. I like that one about a "proxy NA".

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        • #5
          Same boat

          My imperfect means of dealing with this situation is as follows:

          In the morning I select a Next Action from my Next Actions list in Excel. I get out the corresponding project's Ternouth coverslip (sorry, the board rejected my post until I deleted the link to this - Google is your friend).

          As the myriad new items come up while I am working on that project, I note them only on the coverslip, and work from that, as sort of a temporary project-specific To-Do/Issues List. Adding and crossing off items in pen as they come up or are done - dozens a day.

          When I switch projects during the day, I use the Next Actions sheet to choose one.

          At the end of the day, for the projects I worked on, I put a few Next Actions from the coverslips onto the Next Actions Excel sheet, and delete anything that has been accomplished. The Next Actions in Excel serve as placeholders for times when I have to pick a new task from a project I am not working on at the time. Not all that much that gets done gets to that list!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by JonathanAquino
            I do software programming, and as I work I generate dozens of NAs per day (finding bugs to fix, thinking of things to test). I enter it in the company issue tracker but I also keep the NAs in my personal system. Two problems: there are so many actions (dozens, potentially hundreds); also my personal system gets out of sync with the company issue tracker.

            I'm thinking about leaving this stuff out of my personal system except for maybe a dozen at a time that I can realistically do within a couple of weeks. Just wondering if other software developers allow their personal GTD system to swallow a firehose of programming tasks.
            Hmmm. I'm not sure I get this. I have one action on my task list per project. The rest are on the project list. So technically I have a list of current items that I'm working on that more or less matches the number of projects (plus various tasks that are just one step and don't have a project). If I'm working on one particular project, I'll go down the line and do things one at a time. So I don't think I'm ever dealing with hundreds, or even dozens, of tasks at once. Perhaps you are doing it differently?

            Tom S.

            Tom S.

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            • #7
              I agree - treat it as a separate collection point

              ... possibly with a temporary daily todo list for focus. (But beware carrying items forward on your temporary list!)

              Allen makes the point that some systems are natural to use in situ (e.g., email, and possibly your bug tracker) because the collection is automatic and the built-in tools are so powerful.

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              • #8
                As a programmer also, but fairly new to GTD, I've added my software projects as projects on my PDA.

                Each then has an associated note, where I put the big things I need to do, like list of bugs I need to fix, specs I have to write, design I have to do.

                I then have one (or possibly two) NA for that project, which relates to one of the bigger things in the note.

                e.g. Bug XXXX Fix or BUG XXXX investigate or Phone YYY to ask for requirement ZZZ clarification.

                I might have more than one NA, but they will relate to different aspects of requirements. e.g. if my next action requires me to wait for info from someone, I'd leave that NA on there but might add a fault fix NA to do whilst I wait.

                So at the moment, but list of NAs per project is small and managable, but I still maintain a (less specific) bigger list of things to do.

                I did try adding a load of fault fixes as NAs, but then found I was out of step when other developers found time to help out and fix something. So resorted to one NA per area per project.

                Rollasoc

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