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  • trouble with hierarchical goals and projects

    Hi.

    How would you guys suggest getting the following outline into my system?

    I.Improve business
    ..A.Improve product line
    ...1.Create new products
    ......a.New product 1
    ...........i. Action 1
    ..........ii. Action 2
    ......b.New product 2
    ......c.New product 3
    ...2.Improve existing products
    ......a.Packaging of existing product 4
    ...........i. Action 1
    ..........ii. Action 2
    ......b.Design of existing product 5
    ...........i. Action 1
    ..........ii. Action 2
    ..B.Get more sales
    ....1.Prospect new customers
    ......a.Prospect 1
    ...........i. Action 1
    ..........ii. Action 2
    ......b.Prospect 2
    ...........i. Action 1
    ..........ii. Action 2
    ......c.Project: Participate in trade show to prospect
    ....2.Get new sales for existing customers
    ......a.Customer 1
    ...........i. Sell product 7
    ..........ii. Create new product 9 for customer 1
    ..............aa. Action 1
    ..............bb. Action 2
    ......b.Customer 2
    ..C.Improve business processes
    ....1.project 1
    ......a.Action 1
    ......b.Action 2
    ....2.project 2
    II.Improve self
    ..A.Project 1
    ..B.Project 2

    Since we are using a project list to track our current projects, should projects be something you can actually complete and cross off as done?

    Should a desired outcome that is never-ending in nature (such as prospect new customers, create new products) be considered a project or would it be better off written as a checklist? Or would it be considered main project that you’d have to make sure always has subprojects under it?

    Could some of the items above be a goal instead of a project? It’s beginning to feel as if projects are simply more specific goals… what's the threshold between a goal and a project?

    Do you guys make sure that your projects are not orphaned and have a *mother goal*?

    And finally, I’m using a paper system so how do you suggest I write them down?
    Last edited by GTDer88; 12-24-2006, 12:24 AM.

  • #2
    If it doesn't have a clear outcome, it isn't a project. "Prospect for new customers" is not a project, or even really a goal. "Make five prospecting calls per day" and "sign $X in new business per month" are much more tangible, and therefore actionable, but still not especially clear.

    Be as precise as you can, and everything else becomes easier.

    Katherine

    Comment


    • #3
      The short answer is this: read the book Getting Things Done. There is an old computer adage, usually referred to as "RTFM"; it is a kindly reminder to read the manual, which in this case is the GTD book. The book makes clear and simple distinctions between projects and higher-level goals and areas of responsibility. If prospecting for new customers is an important, distinct part of your job, I would probably consider it a focus area aka area of responsibility. It would be on a list of my major current responsibilities I review about every month. A 1-2 year goal like "Increase sales by XXX" would go on a different list, the so-called 30,000 foot 1-2 year goal list. Both of these lists drive the project list, which in turn drives the next action list. While some people use a very structured outline, I think most people using a looser coupling of the various levels, as David Allen does. I don't know of many people who tightly structure in outline form on paper, because of the obvious inflexibility.

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      • #4
        thanks

        Okay so I messed up the different levels… did RTFM again...

        Apparently I overlooked the higher levels in DA’s altitude analogy, since the focus of the book was more on the runway and project level.

        I was trying to cram everything – responsibilities, goals and visions – into my project list. I was concerned that I’d forget to prospect or to make sure there’s a new product coming along so I’d write that down as a project…

        I guess I need to put everything into their proper places…

        Thanks. I think everything would be clearer now.

        Comment


        • #5
          I.Improve business...............=> AREA OF FOCUS
          ..A.Improve product line........=> GOAL
          ...1.Create new products.......=> OBJECTIVE
          ......a.New product 1............=> PROJECT
          ...........i. Action 1................=> NEXT ACTION

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Richard Love View Post
            I.Improve business...............=> AREA OF FOCUS
            ..A.Improve product line........=> GOAL
            ...1.Create new products.......=> OBJECTIVE
            ......a.New product 1............=> PROJECT
            ...........i. Action 1................=> NEXT ACTION
            What's the best way list them down on a filofax organizer? How do you suggest creating a link from area of focus to goal to objective to project to next action? I can handle mentally linking projects to next actions, but all five levels would be a little tedious...
            Last edited by GTDer88; 12-25-2006, 04:47 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              I use a single mindmap created with MindManager 6 which I sync with Outlook to Pocket Informant and access using custom views. I use text markers to define categories (Area of Focus, Goal, Objective, Project and for Next Actions (ie, @Work, etc) corresponding to 40K, 30K, 20K, 10K and runway levels described by David.

              By using an icon marker for those projects deemed active (typically during a monthly review corresponding to a reporting period at work) I can filter and easily keep things to a manageable level for the weekly review.

              I have a hyperlink to a separate map for each project ( a two way link allowing for easy navigation) which lets me drill down and access detailed planning, brainstorming, etc but keep my next actions up at the main project level.

              I've tried the ResultsManager add-in for MindManager but find the simple two level approach (main map, individual project maps) to be adequate and easy to maintain - although the GyroQ tool they just came out with is great.

              On a final note, I use PhatPad on an Ipaq x1950 PDA (a very small footprint- the others are just too clunky) for my universal capture tool (as well as for general notes).

              I've tried FiloFax, Moleskine and David's UCT wallet but have settled on the approach described above. Everything I need is always with me ready for review in any context. I've used it for several years now and couldn't imagine "getting things done" any other way.
              Last edited by Richard Love; 12-25-2006, 06:24 PM.

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