The Right Level to Define a Project

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by Kirk, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. Kirk

    Kirk Registered

    Apr 19, 2017
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    Systems Developer
    Bristol, U.K.
    I was wondering if any of you folks had some views on what level you should define projects in the GTD methodology? I've been practicing GTD for a while (Jan 2011?) but it's always something I've felt conflicted about.

    Many of us will work in environments where what an organisation defines as a 'project' is definitely something that doesn't align with what a GTD project is. But my question is how far down in detail do you go to define your GTD projects? What process do you go through mentally or what rules do you apply to 'prove' you've met the right level? I'll give you an example for me.

    My overall goal is to bring our PC estate for the organisation to Windows 10. That's really how our senior leaders would see it too. But, to my mind that's way too high level. So, I go deeper and could say...

    1. Undesired applications are not visible to end users (e.g. candy crush)
    2. Users can select cost centres whilst printing
    3. User Start Menu configurations aren't lost during feature upgrades

    Each of these items reflect a specific outcome I'm working towards with each of my next actions. Perhaps the Windows 10 'project' (in the eyes of the organization) is more a horizon 2/3 thing in the eyes of GTD.

    How do you do it? I'm trying out GTD connect so if there's some useful resources there on this topic I'd welcome recommendations.
  2. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

    Oct 4, 2003
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    My GTD projects are mine. Not organization's. They reflect my role in the organization's project. The only exception: if the organization's project is a one-person project delegated to me then it is my GTD project.
    JamesBedell likes this.
  3. FrancescoPlli

    FrancescoPlli Registered

    Sep 8, 2015
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    When my eyes look at my GTD projects list my mind reads them in GTD terms.

    In your example on my projects list there would be:
    - Windows 10 migration PCs completed - mm/dd (if there's a due date)

    All the other outcomes you listed would be subprojects or project support material.

    I would track at what point the project is in my weekly review adding next acts if it is the case.

    All my lists are like bookmarks to read a book. I only need triggers to remind me what there's still to do to reach the outcome.

    Try to immagine you doing physically the migration.
    Would you first install windows 10 on all the machines and then you set all the other restriction?
    Or would you do all the opereration together PC by PC?

    Changing trigger questions to ourselves sometimes can help to stand out our vision.

    Of course that's is how my brain works. I hope this helps.
    TesTeq likes this.
  4. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

    Sep 11, 2008
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    For me, a GTD project is much smaller than a corporate project. I'd say that if something:

    - Has multiple steps.
    - Can be worked in parallel with other "things" that have multiple steps.
    - Is likely to be worked in parallel with other things that have multiple steps.

    then it's a project.

    So to some extent, the boundaries around a project may depend on how the project is worked. So (and I'm struggling to use outcome phrasing, which I dislike) I might have a project:

    Project: Early spring garden successfully installed/prepped.

    If I had a small garden, or if i had gotten more done this winter, that might be the right size for a project. But for my garden this year successful completion will mean that a big onion bed is prepped and planted, that I finally got the blueberries planted, that I revamped the pumpkin patch ready for late-spring seeds for a flower cutting garden, and so on. Those things are going to have to go in parallel, if I want to get them done. So that one project would start becoming multiple projects. (Not sub-projects, because I don't do hierarchical projects.)

    Project: Ten blueberry bushes are growing in correctly amended soil.
    Project: Six beds of Copra onions are growing.
    Project: Perennials are fertilized/pruned/etc. and ready for spring.
    Project: Pumpkin patch is ready for "lean" annual flowers.

    Or, really, since I don't do outcome phrasing:

    Project: Get blueberries planted.
    Project: Plant Copra onions.
    Project: Fertilize/prune/weed/etc. existing perennials.
    Project: Rough-prep pumpkin patch soil for "lean" annual flowers.
  5. Cpu_Modern

    Cpu_Modern Registered

    Apr 24, 2006
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    Yes, maybe. It depends. It is really up to you with what you are comfortabel with. How big is your org? If it's hundreds of seats and the project takes months or even years, yeah then it's really a level 2/3 item.

    OTOH, what was said with regards to project support material is probably what I would do.

    In my mind "maintaining IT infrastructure" would be the level 2 thing and the Windows 10 project would still be a project in the GTD sense.
  6. Suelin23

    Suelin23 Registered

    Jun 5, 2010
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    Melbourne Australia
    I currently am replicating the setup in my performance plan to be my project list but drilling down one more layer in my project support notes and filing system
    Performance plan goal - EPA compliance
    Performance plan project - Modelling effluent discharge. (These are also my gtd projects)
    Then my project support folders/one note pages are something like:
    • Service provider engaged
    • Data analysed
    • Draft report issued for comment

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