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How to track projects and subprojects

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  • How to track projects and subprojects

    I have a large project that consists of 10 separate subprojects. I need to make certain that I complete and track all 10 subprojects, which I can do one at a time. Example: subproject 1 is in :active projects", the other 9 in "pending projects".

    After that intro, my questions are: Would you keep the project as one large project with many tasks? Or should one separate the project into 10 projects that become active one after another? If I have spearated them, should there always be a "Main" Project open until the subprojects are done? Also, how should pending projects be listed in Outlook?

    I'm trying to rework my system and I appreciate any advice.

    PS There is no complicated timeline, so that is not a factor. I guess if it were complicated one could use the tickler system to activate one of the projects.

  • #2
    Originally posted by sdann View Post
    1) Would you keep the project as one large project with many tasks?
    2)Or should one separate the project into 10 projects that become active one after another?
    3)If I have spearated them, should there always be a "Main" Project open until the subprojects are done?
    4)Also, how should pending projects be listed in Outlook?
    My best, most emphatic, advice is to use paper, at least until you've got the GTD system humming along automagically. Lists are all you need for a working GTD system, and in my experience it's best to learn the nuts and bolts of the GTD system before you have to start worrying about software foibles. I've also seen a substantial number of people go from software to paper, because of the ease of use.

    That said, here are some answers. Note that they are highly subjective, so YMMV.


    1) and 2) I have them listed as projects containing sub-projects. In my lists, they might appear like this:

    PROJECTS
    Make supersonic jet in backyard
    - Get engine
    - Make body out of chocolate wrappers
    - Glue on wings
    Control Ze Vorld
    - Depends on previous project

    3) A project is a project is a project, so I'll include on my Active Projects list both the overall project and the sub-project, just so I'm keeping an eye on where I am and where I'm aiming. So in the previous example, I'd list both "Make supersonic jet" and "Get engine" so that I'm always consciously aware that there's a larger project than just "Get engine".


    4) I wouldn't touch Outlook with a barge pole, so you're on your own with that one.

    Comment


    • #3
      My 2c:

      o If the different pieces need to move ahead in parallel, then make them separate sub-projects, each with its own NA or WF. Otherwise, one project should work. In any case, keep your paper together in the appropriate folders (I like paper too, but usually you get three forms of folders: paper, email, and disk drive. Just use the same name for all.)

      o If multiple folders, prefix them all with the project name, e.g., supersonic-engine, supersonic-permits, etc.

      o Create a "master" project folder that contains your planning, brainstorming, etc. This is the place where you get a bird's eye view of the whole process. If necessary, you'd also have a master time-line with milestones, deadlines, delegation, etc.


      That said, the one piece I don't feel 100% clear on is the case when the master project has no NAs or WFs. I can see this happening, and it seems to bend GTD a bit too much for me.

      Any thoughts on that?

      Comment


      • #4
        Personally, I'd make each sub-project into its own separate GTD Project, and only have one or two in my active Projects list at any one time. The overall project would be a higher-level goal that I track separately.

        I prefer to phrase my Projects as things that can be accomplished in the next few weeks to few months. Anything longer than that becomes a slog.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by cornell View Post
          That said, the one piece I don't feel 100% clear on is the case when the master project has no NAs or WFs. I can see this happening, and it seems to bend GTD a bit too much for me.

          Any thoughts on that?
          Technically speaking the sub-projects are WFs to the master-project.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Cpu_Modern View Post
            Technically speaking the sub-projects are WFs to the master-project.
            Brilliant! Thank you.

            Comment


            • #7
              These are exactly the comments I needed. The solution then: master project with WFs and its subprojects, to start one at a time or as needed. I don't want any "slogs" with a seemingly endless list of tasks; I like to clear things off my project list too much. Thank you!

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