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  • GTD Project 5 Phases text template?

    Does anyone have, or have links to a textual template of the 5 Phases of Project Planning?
    Last edited by CosmoGTD; 04-01-2006, 04:07 AM.

  • #2
    First "why" then "what"!

    Originally posted by CosmoGTD
    I am not sure why DA put Purpose before Outcome in his book for project planning.
    It seems to me to be more natural to know your Outcome, and then refine the purpose, but, the Outcome is coming out of some type of purpose, sometimes implicit.
    For me it is obvious that first you have to identify or define the purpose (why you're going to do it) and then define the outcome that matches the purpose.

    It is impossible to decide what should be done when you don't know the purpose.

    Comment


    • #3
      first what, then purpose, then ...?

      TesTeq, you say " (first)... purpose (why you're going to do it) ..."

      What is the "it" in that phrase? It seems to me it is the thing you think you're going to do - in other words, the "what".
      To decide the purpose behind something, there has to be some thing.
      So I'm with Cosmo on this one. Nice acronym BTW.
      Of course, purpose-related thinking could affect the initial "hat" and either validate it, change it, or result in it not making it to the project/outcome/NA lists at all

      Comment


      • #4
        I used the WHY/WHAT/HOW memory devices, too...

        Your lists are much the same as mine. My 'full' template is:

        Purpose - Vision - Brainstorm - Organize - Next Actions - Follow Up
        (Why - What - How - Who/When/Where)

        Purpose/Guiding Principles

        Why is this being done? What would 'on purpose' really mean? Ask 'why' several times to get more clarity.
        What are the key standards to hold in making decisions and acting on this project? What are the rules we play by?
        The purpose and principles are the guiding criteria for making decisions on the project.

        Vision/Successful Outcome

        What would it be like if it were totally successful? How would I know?
        What would that success look or feel like for each of the parties with an interest?
        Past Tense - Wild Success - Note Details

        Brainstorming/Trigger List

        What are all the things that occur to me about this?
        What is the current reality?
        What do I know?
        What do I not know?
        What should I consider?
        What haven't I considered?
        Be complete, open, non-judgmental and resist critical analysis until brainstorming is complete.
        View from all sides. Use additional trigger lists to generate ideas.

        Organizing

        Identify components (sub-projects), sequences and priorities.
        Create outlines, bulleted lists and organizing charts as needed for review and control.

        Next Actions

        Determine next actions on current independent components. What should be done next and who should do it?
        If more planning is required determine the next action to accomplish it.

        Adjusting Focus

        If your project needs more clarity - raise the level of your focus.
        If your project needs more activity - lower the level of your focus.

        Additional Planning

        If the project is off your mind - planning is sufficient.
        If it's still on your mind - then more is needed.

        ~~~~~~~~~~

        A shorter list is:

        Purpose - Vision - Brainstorm - Organize - Next Actions - Follow Up
        (Why - What - How - Who/When/Where - Clarity>Up/Activity>Down)

        Comment


        • #5
          Why-what debugging.

          Originally posted by Mark Finlay
          TesTeq, you say " (first)... purpose (why you're going to do it) ..."

          What is the "it" in that phrase? It seems to me it is the thing you think you're going to do - in other words, the "what".
          To decide the purpose behind something, there has to be some thing.
          OK. I agree that there shouldn't be "it" but I do not change my opinion about the why-what versus what-why order of thinking. So I change this to:

          For me it is obvious that first you have to identify or define the purpose (why you're going to do anything) and then define the outcome that matches the purpose (what this anything is).

          It is impossible to decide what should be done when you don't know the purpose.

          Comment


          • #6
            Perhaps Two Whats?

            Just thinking about it, but might be something like two whats, based on my understanding of what DA was saying.

            In my view, we're all going to have a rough "what" done first, basically, as mentioned, a title for the project. However, I think that differs from the Outcome as defined in GTD. The Outcome What is more visualizing the successful endgame of the project, as DA says, envisioning "Wild Success".

            So, I would take it as:
            What 1 - What is the project's stated function, goal, etc.
            Why (Purpose) - Why are we doing this, how does it fit into our committments with ourselves.
            What 2 (Outcome) - With the purpose in mind, and the stated function or goal, what is the final, wildly successful, endgame or end state?

            Just my thoughts on the topic.

            Cheers!

            Comment


            • #7
              Why is the key

              Why can be a pretty deep question, and one that doesn't get asked nearly often enough. It can quickly lead you into unfamiliar, uncomfortable territory. To me, why is always the core question and the hardest on both on a personal and professional level.

              ~~~

              There is a pretty good book out there called "The Answer to How is Yes". If you substitute 'how' with 'what', I think this paragraph describing the book provide a little insight into the critical nature of 'why':

              Modern culture's worship of "how-to" pragmatism has turned us into instruments of efficiency and commerce -- but we're doing more and more about things that mean less and less. We constantly ask how? but rarely why? We use how as a defense -- instead of acting on what we know to be of importance, we wait until we've attended one more workshop, read one more book, gotten one more degree. Asking how keeps us safe -- instead of being led by our hearts into uncharted territory, we keep our heads down and stick to the map. But we are gaining the world and losing our souls.

              ~~~

              Not sure if any of this is what David had in mind when he placed 'why' as the first stage.

              Comment


              • #8
                At the beginning was WHY. All other questions came from WHY.

                Originally posted by CosmoGTD
                There can also be many reasons WHY we want a WHAT, but only one WHAT.

                For example, we might want to lose 20 lbs. WHAT.
                The WHY we might tell ourselves is so we can be Healthy. But the REAL why might be less noble.
                I still do not agree. As you said there is a real WHY. So the challenge is to be brave enough to honestly discover or define your REAL WHYs. If you know this - it is a piece of cake to decide what to do and what not to do. So WHY is the basic filter for WHATs. And for one WHY there may be multiple WHATs.

                For example for the purpose (WHY) "I wanna be healthy" I may define the following project outcomes (WHATs):
                - lose 10 kg;
                - change you diet to ...;
                - start jogging;
                - schedule yearly physical examination;
                - and so on...

                I will not define the project outcome (WHAT) "lose 10 kg" and then start to brainstorm why I want to do this (WHY).

                Similarly I will not define the project outcome (WHAT) "dig a hole in a backyard" and then start to brainstorm what it is for (WHY):
                - place for a new tree?
                - grave (if I want to commit a murder)?
                - tunnel to Australia?
                - have I got a backyard? (no, I live in a penthouse near Central Park!)

                So I repeat once again:

                At the beginning was WHY. All other questions came from WHY.

                Comment


                • #9
                  No first why, no project!

                  Originally posted by TesTeq
                  At the beginning was WHY. All other questions came from WHY.
                  Yes, I second this.

                  If you don't clear the purpose of your activity before you do it then your activity isn't a project but something else, and hopefully not a waste of time and money.

                  What is a project?
                  A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product or service. Temporary means that the project has an end date. Unique means that the project's end result is different than the results of other functions of the organization. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project)
                  A project is an undertaking typically requiring concerted effort that is focused on developing or maintaining a specific product or products. Typically a project has its own funding, accounting, and delivery schedule. (http://www.sei.cmu.edu/productlines/glossary.html)

                  The natural planning method makes completely sense in this context.

                  But of course, we all know, David Allen uses the word "project" also with another meaning: a project is any desired result that requires more than one action step. Well, these "projects" are more like undertakings that don't need a planning method like the natural planning method. In this sense our projects lists are more like "undertakings lists" or "lists of desired results".

                  Rainer
                  Last edited by Rainer Burmeister; 03-24-2006, 10:28 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Rainer's Template

                    My template looks like:

                    -------------------------------------------------
                    Project name: .............

                    What is the purpose? What is the question? What is the problem: ........

                    What is the intended successfull outcome? What is the goal: ...........

                    Thoughts on the project (Brainstorming): ......................

                    Putting thoughts in order: .......... ........ ...............

                    List of starting actions: ..............

                    Action plan necessary? Yes / No

                    Responsibilities: .............

                    Involved persons, departments, companies: .........

                    Obstacles: ..............

                    Milestones: ....................

                    Time frame: ...................

                    Comments / notes: ...................

                    ------------------------------------------------

                    Rainer
                    Last edited by Rainer Burmeister; 03-24-2006, 11:12 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by CosmoGTD
                      mmmm...steak....thinking of that 15 lbs....
                      LOL! With French fries!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CosmoGTD
                        So in my brain, the WHAT jumps out first, but of course it is motivated by WHY's, and often these why's are implicit and even unconscious.
                        Thank you, Cosmo! This is exactly why we can't proscribe one path to an organized life. We each come at self-improvement with a different set of tools.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Define the outcome and then stick to it.

                          CosmoGTD,

                          Several posts ago it was:
                          Originally posted by CosmoGTD
                          For example, we might want to lose 20 lbs. WHAT.
                          The WHY we might tell ourselves is so we can be Healthy. But the REAL why might be less noble.
                          Now it is:
                          Originally posted by CosmoGTD
                          As soon as I think of my lose 15lbs project, I want to go eat!
                          I probably should adjust the name of my project to 'weigh___ lbs', instead of lose 15 lbs. Its funny, even the words 'lose lbs' makes you hungry! The body does not like losing weight.
                          So this makes a point that the wording of the project can actually be very important. I am going to modify the project name to something like...
                          'weight ___ lbs by daily jogging and eating healthy foods'.
                          I think that the most important thing is to define a really achievable outcome (change it as many times as you wish during the outcome definition phase) and then stick to it (do not change it during the execution phase unless you have a really really really important reason).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Continuous goal changes hurt.

                            Originally posted by CosmoGTD
                            I don't even know what you mean by this?
                            First off, I am just brainstorming out some ideas.
                            Secondly, anyone can and should change their outcome at any time they decide to change it.
                            It need to constantly be refined, modified, changed, and even dropped, if that is what they decide.
                            I mean what I say.

                            First carefully decide what the successful outcome is, then just do it. Of course you can refine it but there must be an important reason to do this.

                            I know too many people who achieved nothing because of continuous goal changes. Ethernal thinkers versus pragmatic doers.

                            By the way, it is nothing personal. I only wanted to use the example of the succesful outcome that you've changed in the brainstorming phase. In my opinion it is OK to change it at this stage, but then it shouldn't be modified. It should be achieved.

                            If I changed the definition of the successful outcome during the execution phase without any important reason I wouldn't feel the taste of success.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I think I excel at finding the root...

                              ...of misunderstandings or differences in perspectives.

                              For those of you who think it's unnatural to consider the WHY before the WHAT (purpose first before outcome/vision), if you've worked in a company with some dysfunction before, I bet you've been tasked to a project before that you're just shaking your head, going, "Yes, okay, fine, they want to do this, but WHY??" Forgetting to consider the why can lead to projects intended to solve non-existent problems.

                              I like to think of Purpose first before Vision/Outcome as stating the Problem first before defining a Solution.

                              However, I understand the What before Why mentality because when you only know the Problem and haven't found a Solution yet, you don't have a project yet. Why? Because the Solution is the project!

                              =)

                              Once you come up with the solution, the Project is born with the "What" (vision/outcome) already in mind. The why was already there, but came about before the project did, and so is not immediately accessible.

                              Comment

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