Getting Things Done – Organize

This is the third article in a series providing a summary “book club” reading of Mr. David Allen’s  “Getting Things Done”. I’m reading from the 2001  Penguin Books edition.

In the previous post, I’ve summarized the “collect” part, now is the turn of the “organizing” one, i.e. that dealing with the actionable things you have collected (the ones not going into the trash, maybe or references containers).

Allen suggests to have 4 different containers for the actionable stuff:

  1. a list of projects (and a container for the project plans/information)
  2. a calendar
  3. a list of reminders for next actions
  4. a list of reminders for actions you are waiting for

A project is any outcome that requires more than one action step, for example it could be get a new bed or plan the summer vacation or get a new staff person on board. A list of projects is just an index of all the things you wish to do soon (not someday!) and will have a support material: additional information, notes, brochures, a plan with scheduled dates (think about a wedding project, for example) and so on. The support material can be stored somewhere out of sight and you just need to keep shorthand the projects list.

In the calendar (just a normal calendar: a paper one or could be a web calendar as well) are going time-specific actions as appointments or actions you want to do o a specific day / week. The calendar sbstitutes the usual daily to-do list.

The Next Actions list is where all the longer-than-two-minutes actions are going. If they are more than, say 30, it’s better to divide them in categories, for example per project or environment (actions at the phone, at the computer, in garden, etc.)

And actions you delegated are going to the waiting-for-list.

Next: reviews


PM 3 – Program Management and the PMO

This is the third post in a series where I will write down what I learned about project management.

According to the PMI vocabulary, a program is a group of related projects managed in a coordinated way (where the benefits are greater than managing them individually).

For example, building an auto is a program, that can be broken up into projects for each major component (exterior, engine, etc.).

Also, publishing a magazine is a program with each individual issue managed as a project.

The focus therefore is – instead of on the single projects – on the final outcome and benefits that should be greater than the single parts (= doing the right projects).

Often a program is just meant to be a set of projects but the PMi is calling this rather a portfolio of projects, where  the projects can be not directly related or independent from each other and the focus is to exploit economies of scale and to reduce coordination costs and risks (= doing projects right).

Project Program
Time: unique, definite duration ongoing
Success: defined, delivering the right output at the right time and to the right cost strategic, improving the general benefits of the organizaton
Organization: transient permanent or semi-permanent

A Project (or Program) Management Office (in short PMO) is a unit in an organization to centralize and coordinate the management of projects.

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