GTD and external task trackers (e.g. GitHub, JIRA, etc.)

joeljkp

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Hi all, I'm curious how the community deals with integrating external task trackers such as GitHub, JIRA, Sharepoint, etc. into their process. Here's my situation:

I use Outlook as my tool, with all projects and tasks recorded as Outlook Tasks with appropriate categories: .PROJECTS, @AGENDAS, @COMPUTER, etc.

I also have external task trackers for my various teams, mostly on GitLab, but also some others. These are used to track issues and actions for the whole team, and I have a list of items assigned to me. My teams "live" in these trackers, so they change on a daily or at least weekly basis as work is assigned and completed.

I've been trying to keep Outlook as my single source, which means manually copying things from the external trackers into Outlook as tasks, ideally with a link to the external system in the body. Thing is, this is a highly laborious process, and it means my Outlook list quickly gets stale as the external tracker is used for most day-to-day business.

Alternately I could just give up on the single-source thing and just check two places: Outlook for personal tasks, and the external trackers for my team tasks.

This must be a common situation, any thoughts?

P.S. It would be great if Outlook could "subscribe" to a task list like it can subscribe to a calendar, but alas.
 

Oogiem

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I've been trying to keep Outlook as my single source, which means manually copying things from the external trackers into Outlook as tasks, ideally with a link to the external system in the body. Thing is, this is a highly laborious process, and it means my Outlook list quickly gets stale as the external tracker is used for most day-to-day business.

Alternately I could just give up on the single-source thing and just check two places: Outlook for personal tasks, and the external trackers for my team tasks.

This must be a common situation, any thoughts?
I'm not dealing with teams, I am the only programmer on my GitLab LambTracker Project but I decided for my own sanity that keeping up with 2 systems was far more efficient and less stressful. So I keep all my LambTracker GitLab type issues in a separate system from my main task manager, Omnifocus. I chose a low-tech paper based system of post-it notes on a manual kanban style board but anything will work.

Why duplicate the effort to move stuff into Outlook?
 

OF user

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I'm not dealing with teams, I am the only programmer on my GitLab LambTracker Project but I decided for my own sanity that keeping up with 2 systems was far more efficient and less stressful. So I keep all my LambTracker GitLab type issues in a separate system from my main task manager, Omnifocus. I chose a low-tech paper based system of post-it notes on a manual kanban style board but anything will work.

Somehow I new there was a closet paper user in you.

Post-its on a Kanban board, huh. :)
 

mcogilvie

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There’s no gtd statute that says you can’t have more than one set of lists, in more than one tool. And you only need to track other people’s work to the degree you need to get your own work done. But you probably need to use a general purpose set of lists to track both personal and at least some work stuff. For example, there is personal stuff that intersects with work, such as vacations, sick leave, tax withholding, going away parties, et cetera. But there are aspects of work that aren’t projects, don’t fit the paradigm of the software, or are highly confidential.
 

Oogiem

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Well the current volume of issues in LambTracker is huge, such that even though I like long lists and lots of choice I would get overwhelmed if it was in Omnifocus. If I had a team pf programmers I'd probably look at some sort of more formal system within GitLab of issues and whose assigned to it etc. but as the only programmer it's faster for me to be in a module, quickly pull off any post-its related to that module and work on them. Those that get done go into a paper file, those that do not can get moved back on the board with a few notes on the current status. Choosing what to work on has so far been done by what is broken or what sheep task I have to do next whose code isn't quite what I want. :)
 

joeljkp

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There’s no gtd statute that says you can’t have more than one set of lists, in more than one tool. And you only need to track other people’s work to the degree you need to get your own work done. But you probably need to use a general purpose set of lists to track both personal and at least some work stuff. For example, there is personal stuff that intersects with work, such as vacations, sick leave, tax withholding, going away parties, et cetera. But there are aspects of work that aren’t projects, don’t fit the paradigm of the software, or are highly confidential.
Thanks mcogilvie, I should have clarified that this "single list" is all work-focused; I actually do have a second personal setup that's completely separate. So the question is about one single list for work, or a few lists, where one is self-managed in Outlook and the others are group lists in GitLab, etc.

Based on the conversation here, it sounds like I shouldn't sweat having a few different lists, as long as I actually use them!
 

rmjb

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Keep in mind that having multiple lists will cause some friction when you have unbooked time to engage with your lists. Unless your list in GitLab is a context onto itself.

Striving for clean edges in your system will bring benefits.
 

alteredbeast

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I have faced a similar predicament, but in a workplace that mandated the use of three separate tools depending on project. My thoughts are as follows:

1. Trying to use a single master list by copying tasks between tools is a shortcut to madness. This is especially true if projects are fast-moving
2. I found it most useful to use these tools (Trello, Asana and Jira in my case) as someday/maybe lists. Each day and evening I scan the tools and if something is particularly urgent then it would be copied into my next actions or calendar lists
3. As team tasks are completed it is simple job of updating your Jira task and copying and comments as you update your master list

There is some duplication there. But in my mind you are staying true to GTD while balancing the realities of working in corporate teams.
 
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