Systematic task management
"Getting Things Done" is a method for personal task management according to David Allen. Everything that appears in thought, on the desk, or on the computer (we call this "stuff") is classified according to a predetermined scheme.
Examples of such "stuff" are: tasks, open points, bug reports, ideas, and customer inquiries. The recipient cannot directly influence the inflow of incoming transactions.
All incoming processes are first collected in the personal inbox. The "basket" is a folder or other container in a project management software. The processes received there are regularly analyzed.
There are three possible outcomes of this analysis:
- A task is "implementable", that is, something has to be done.
- A task is "not feasible", which means that it only has to be noted and possibly stored somewhere.
- A task requires a sequence of actions, possibly involving several people and over a longer period of time. To do this, "planned operations" must be created or changed. "Scheduled tasks" can be, for example, a work breakdown structure for a project or a Scrum product backlog.
There are three baskets for non-feasible tasks in which they can be placed:
- Garbage, the tasks here are not considered any further and will be deleted at some point.
- Incubator, tasks that do not require any action now or in the near future but may be considered later. These tasks serve as crystallization for future work. Examples of tasks in this basket are ideas, wishes, improvements, etc.
- Reference/favorites. This basket contains material that will one day be important or frequently needed, e.g. FAQ, requirements, standards, etc.
You have three baskets for actionable tasks:
- Next actions. This is where you place tasks that you want to work on in the near future. There is no real planning or deadline for the next actions. If there are deadlines or dates that need to be taken into account, the tasks should be placed in the calendar basket.
- Calendar. Here you place all actions that have a strict relationship to the date or time, e.g. an appointment or a meeting or the like. The calendar contains three types of events: appointments, promotions, day and day-specific information.
- Delegated/waiting. This basket contains actions that you have delegated to another.
The basket for "planned operations" is checked regularly. Some of the tasks in this basket can eventually be moved to one of the implementable baskets.
In the inbox
This basket serves as a collection for everything that has been pushed to you. Typical sources are emails from colleagues or customers, phone calls, meetings, your own ideas, documents, and other tasks delegated to you. Check your inbox regularly. As long as you have not moved an operation from your inbox to another basket, it remains in the inbox. Your goal should be to empty your inbox regularly to keep an overview. Tasks show up in your inbox when you are responsible for a new process according to the RACI scheme. This is the case if an operation was created only with you as a responsible person or if you are responsible for an operation for which someone else was previously responsible.
The "Next Actions" basket is the center for your daily action management activities. It contains all tasks that you want to take care of yourself as quickly as possible. Actions that can be quickly completed should be placed into this basket. You can only place tasks in this basket yourself. Operations that need to be done by a specific date or time should be placed in the calendar basket. If you are not the right person to complete an action, then it can be transferred to the delegated waiting basket. As soon as an operation has either been transferred to another person or has been completed, it will be removed from the next actions list.
Some tasks require more than a single action to take care of and thus require more than one person to complete. Such items should be moved to the "planned tasks" basket and are passed on in detail to all those responsible. Planned tasks are usually arranged in conventional project management, work breakdown structure, product structures, or product backlogs, release backlogs, or iteration order stocks. It is not the subject of this article to describe how to develop such structures. In general, it is advisable to structure the planned tasks according to intermediate and deliverables, such as documents, functions, software, hardware, mechanics, etc. This makes it easier to measure progress later. It is less advisable to structure the tasks operations along actions, such as "write" requirements. So, instead of developing a true work breakdown structure, you should develop a work- breakdown structure document. A project plan can span many months or even several years. As the work on the project progresses, the plan may need to be refined and revised.
The calendar basket contains three types of operations:
- Daily actions
- Day specific actions
Dates that you have set, e.g. B. Attending a project meeting or visiting a customer. To do this you have to be there at a certain time and place. Day specific actions are the things you need to do sometime until or during a specific day, for example to call someone or end an offer. The time when you do this is not important. Day specific informations are something you want to know about a particular day. For example, you need some input for your project planning actions or you are trying to organize a meeting and you need the OK from those invited. You can also place reminders here, e.g. B. If you want to call someone after returning from a business trip.
If you are not the right person to do something on an article, you can delegate it. You need a reminder that you have transferred the process to someone else. The delegate / waiting basket contains tasks that you have delegated to another and that have not been completed. In the delegated/waiting cart, keep a copy of the original transaction while the original goes to the new responsible person. In an electronic system, you could keep a link to the original operation in your copy. So that you will be reminded to search for this title on a certain day, you can tag this copy with a personal follow-up date.
As you enter items in your cart, there may be things that do not require action on your or someone else's part and are not valuable enough to hold information. You can move such operations directly to the trash. You should empty the trash regularly.
The incubator basket allows you to collect things that are not urgent but that you want to accomplish sometime in the future. Items in the incubator basket serve as crystallization points for future activities and projects. This basket could be thought of as a "parking space for future projects". For example, your customers gave you some nice ideas on how to improve your product. However, at this point, you don't have the capacity to include such features in the next product releases, as it would require a major redesign. So put this idea in the incubator basket. Check this basket regularly, and some time in the future you may actually be able to implement the idea in a project.
The reference basket serves as a place where you collect information that is or may be of some value to you or others. It is important that you organize operations here in the right categories to make it easy for you to get them. Examples of items in the Reference basket include standards, presentations, contracts, and certain project documentation. It is helpful if a folder in the shopping cart reference for general topics that do not fit the other categories.
Getting Things Done Software
More interesting explanations about task management for teams can be found here.