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Projects/sub-projects: how to file?

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  • Projects/sub-projects: how to file?

    Let’s say you have a project: "prepare accounts for ABC to 31 August 2006". This will generate sub-projects: e.g. “have meeting with staff in advance of assignment” which has a set of key steps associated with it : read file, prepare agenda of key issues, select staff, arrange room etc.

    But it always feels odd to me to have a main project like “prepare accounts for ABC to 31 August 2006”, and related sub-projects, on the same project list.

    It feels as if the NA of the main project is actually another project (arrange meeting with staff).

    Alternatively, I could say that the NA of the sub-project is also the NA of the overall project (“read file for key issues").

    I know my projects list is supposed to be an index of all my open loops, but it seems uneven to have both the main project and one or more sub-projects on the same list.

    Or, is it better to list the sub-projects on a project control sheet? And then does each sub-project get its own NA, creating a situation where one overall project has a selection of NAs associated with it? (e.g. “request file from storage” “phone client re start date” “phone tax department for current issues to bring to the planning meeting” etc)

    Any thoughts?



  • #2
    Projects and Sub-Projects


    As so much of GTD it is down to what suits you. The only criteria is that you should review each Project and Sub-Project as part of your Weekly Review.

    I would usually list the Master Project on the Projects List and the Sub-Projects in the Project Support for the Master. During my weekly review I will look at the Project Support see the Sub-Projects and ensure they all have Next Actions.

    It does depend somehwat on tools - I currently use Vanilla Palm. In the past, I have used an Outliner to list my Projects. This allows you to nest your Sub-Projects under your Master Project. However, the only real advantage I found to thsi is that it is more visually appealing.



    • #3
      I have projects and sub-projects listed separatelly. That allows to control my current load. Sub-projects are projects as well so it worth to list them separatelly.



      • #4
        I use an outline form for my project list and use colors to show what subproject is active. Otherwise, I lose interest looking at it and resist my weekly review, either because I feel overwhelmed by a long list or scared because I don't have the whole picture in front of me. Here's what it looks like:

        decide on shelving
        purchase new shelving
        take down old shelving
        spackle and paint
        install new shelving
        organize clothes on new shelving
        organize into fiction/ nonfiction
        • put fiction on shelves next to chairs
        • put non fiction on shelves near TV
        craft books in craft room
        shelving unit for office?
        It's such a good question, I'm interested to know what other people do.


        • #5
          try thinking "up" the hierarchy

          Maybe once a project has been analyzed and it appears to have many sub-projects, especially if they are fairly independent that sometimes the "parent" project is really a higher level value or goal. And, if this is so, then the sub-projects could be treated as projects for the prupose of weekly review and working the system.


          • #6
            Are the sub-projects parallel or sequential?

            If they are parallel, they can all move forward at once:
            * Back to school shopping (project)
            * Clothes for Tom
            * Computer for Jane
            * Dorm stuff for Harry
            And so they should all be "active" projects for purposes of the weekly review.

            If they are sequential, only one can move forward at a time:
            * Build bridge
            * Submit bid for bridge construction
            * Design bridge
            * Collect bids from subcontractors
            And so only the current one needs to be active.