Prerequisites or Waiting For or Blocked. How to deal with.

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by Gardener, Jun 8, 2017.

  1. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

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    I like to minimize my active projects. I want my project list to have only projects that I am really actively working on.

    But often a project has a prerequisite that means that after I turn my attention to it and commit to it, I can't really get started for quite some time. Less often (for me--it might be more often for others) a project will hit a block that will have it on hold for quite some time.

    For example, the project to update Widget App to version 88.5g of the underlying software requires that I obtain that software. Obtaining the software is likely to have enough steps to be a project of its own, a project that will take some time. (Fill out request form. Sign in blood. Obtain the broom of the Wicked Witch of the West. Defeat flying monkeys. And so on.)

    I suppose the most obvious solution, if I don't want blocked projects in my main project list, and I don't want them lurking there behind a filter, is to move those projects to some blocked project respository, sort of analogous to Someday/Maybe, to add a note specifying the prerequisites, and to check those projects regularly so that I don't miss them when they're unblocked.

    But does anyone handle this some other way?
     
  2. Suelin23

    Suelin23 Registered

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    I know we're supposed to have a flat projects list but in my new GTD overhaul I am trying out grouping by goal. I'm also using prefixes
    ^ high priority project (needs a NA and frequent review)
    + active projects (needs to have a NA and be covered in the weekly review)
    Any without a prefix are those slow, keep in the background and only work on as required projects, that may not need a NA at all or weekly review.
    The intention is that I'll get less distracted by the extra projects and focus more on the ones that are important for me to deliver on. I've setup my filing system in Outlook, Explorer and OneNote to match each other so I'm always looking at my project list and getting reminded about the priorities of what I'm working on.
    upload_2017-6-9_12-12-29.png
     
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  3. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

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    I don't mind and tend to thrive on long project and action lists so my solution may not work for you.

    I put the next action in the blocked project Y something like "Waiting for project X to be finished - mm/dd" where the date is the when I started the pre-requisite project and the context is waiting for. When I create project X I make an action that is the last action for it "Activate Project Y" with a context of Omnifocus. That way I can see and handle it if I somehow miss it in my weekly review.

    When I see the blocked projects in weekly review I can easily flip past them and mark them reviewed in bulk. Or d=take appropriate action if I need to, either finish it or something else.
     
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  4. ellobogrande

    ellobogrande Registered

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    More recently I started a .Pending list for actions and projects (those that can't get started) that hit a roadblock or are stalled pending some other outcome.

    For example, I had defined an action to test a configuration change to an application that I support. I started to do it but halfway through found out that my user account for the development environment was unexpectedly locked out. That blocked me from completing this simple next action. I used to call this scenario "a next action gone project".

    I don't like moving the original action to my Projects list (or even Someday/Maybe) and then back to the action list once the roadblock was removed (tried it, didn't feel right). I felt another list was needed. That's when I came up with ".Pending". It's the reciprocal of @Waiting For.

    I use the "." instead of @ because it's not really an action-based list; D.A. once suggested in the MS Outlook guide to name the projects list .Projects, which gave me the idea to use the "." as a grouping character.

    I move the action to Pending and make a remark in the notes section of the task (I use Google Tasks) about what the holdup is. I then define the appropriate next action (perhaps even a project, too) to remove the roadblock. It's working pretty well for me.
     

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