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Catagories for Projects

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  • Catagories for Projects

    Hi,

    just wondering if any one puts their projects into the corresponding catagories? (filtering 10,000ft by 20,000ft). my project list is growing to well over 150 items, and seems to be more than a little bit intimidating. It also seems that a lot projects on my list are connected in someway to a bigger project.

    I was wondering if anyone has tried this approach and if there where any reasons not to group them at a higher focus level?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Foxman View Post
    ...put projects into catagories? ... my project list is over 150 items
    Hi Foxman. First, that number of projects is on the upper end of the spectrum, so it's natural you're feeling that managing the list is work. So one area to consider is whether that number is necessary - do they all need to be active right now, i.e., does every one have an associated next action? Moving some to someday/maybe could help here, as could delegating (and moving to waiting-for).

    That said, I wonder if structuring the list may not be a great idea. Why? Because the list is a master index to use during your weekly review to ask questions about each project - Is it done?, Is there an active next action?, Am I still committed to it? Etc. From this perspective, keeping the list simply that - linear - is fine. It just needs to be in a format that allows you to efficiently go through each item.

    Good question!

    matt

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    • #3
      My solution to this is to have an entire file-system for someday-maybes (my "idea cauldron") and a "Pending" list for projects I will likely want to start/resume sometime in the next month (so that they don't get lost in the someday-maybe box), in addition to my Project list.

      During my weekly review, I try to be ruthlessly honest about which of the projects I actually want to/ expect to make progress on in the next week or two, and shift any others to pending (or sometimes straight beack to someday-maybe). I review the "pending" list weekely, and the "idea cauldron" monthly.

      The result is an active project list short enough that I don't need to categorize it. The "pending" list and the (neccisarily somewhat messy) organization scheme of my "someday maybe" cauldron are what save me, because they allow me to keep my active projects list short enough to be manageable.

      Now only "truely active in the next week or so" projects go on my "project" list. The "I need to begin this soon" and "I need to get back to this before too long" and "I'd better not forget about this" do not, anymore.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Foxman View Post
        just wondering if any one puts their projects into the corresponding catagories? (filtering 10,000ft by 20,000ft).
        If I'm understanding you right, you mean labeling or listing projects by area of focus. I've tried this in a couple of my implementations. It seemed like a good way to spot-check the balance among areas, and in one area (I have a high-responsibility volunteer position that generates a ton of projects), it was handy to see everything at once.

        Ultimately, I stopped because I found it slowed down browsing my project list, and there was some definite drag when, for a few multi-area or "extra-focal" projects, I had to stop and think about which area of focus (if any) a given project went under. I finally decided that most of my projects' focus was clear at a glance, and the ones without a clear area of focus weren't worth the mental horsepower they were consuming. I do keep an area of focus checklist, but I just have one big unsorted projects list.

        I still think it's an interesting approach, though, and I may try it again if I start using an electronic tool that lets me tag projects by category.
        Last edited by maxleibman; 01-19-2007, 02:51 PM.

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        • #5
          I use Freemind to map projects and areas of focus. I do this during my weekly review. It helps to see which focus areas are being neglected, and also helps bring to light those areas I haven't defined yet whenever I encounter projects I couldn't decide where to put under.

          I felt more *squeaky clean since I started mapping. I'm thinking of integrating the higher altitudes into the map but haven't had the time yet.

          Originally posted by maxleibman View Post
          Ultimately, I stopped because I found it slowed down browsing my project list, and there was some definite drag when, for a few multi-area or "extra-focal" projects, I had to stop and think about which area of focus (if any) a given project went under.
          So far I haven't experienced the drag you are talking about. For multi-area projects, I simply use a graphical link to associate them. It works just fine.

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          • #6
            Categories for Projects

            Not sure if this is what you originally meant, but I do categorize my projects according a set of categories. For business projects, I find that virtually all my projects are directed at People or Processes or Systems or Structure. Thus my work related projects fall into the categories of:
            Biz-People
            Biz-Process
            Biz-Structure
            Biz-Systems

            For personal projects, I've identified 5 areas of focus for my "Lifeplan" - Fulfillment, Health, Financial, Career, Order. Such things as family, spirit, etc fall into Fulfillment, personal productivity into Order, etc. Thus my personal projects fall into the categores of:
            L-Fulfillment
            L-Health
            L-Financial
            L-Career
            L-Order

            Hope that helps.

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            • #7
              I have all my work projects and my non-project NAs allocated to a focus area of responsibility. This allows me to pick any one area of work and be able to quickly review all the outstanding stuff for that area.

              The areas are specific professional responsibilities, so the list reads

              Child Development Team
              Child Health Promotion
              Childrens Trust
              Clinical work
              Immunisation
              Management
              Medical Director
              Personal
              School Health
              Staff

              It's very useful to be able to look at a specifc area of focus when I'm in the relevant meeting. Also, following discsusions with my boss regarding priorities and workload, I'm trying to allocate specific days to specific areas of work, so it means I can filter the NAs to just the ones that apply to that day.

              Ruth

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