The Secret Life of Issue Lists (Part 2): Issues and GTD
By asparks on Apr 21, 2009
[Update 22-Apr-2009 Links to the mind map file, free Mind Manager Viewer and same in pdf format added. Apparently IE can’t render the embedded viewer either. Kudos to Hans Henrik Krohn for pointing this out.]
This is the second part of a discussion on the secret life of issue lists in our project lifestyles.
In Part 1 I opened the discussion by looking at why issues are such slippery things to manage. I then got perspectives on managing issues from various colleagues who know a thing or two about them.
In this post I’ll see how some of the latest thinking in personal productivity intersects with issue management in projects.
Issue Management and GTD
I compared my colleagues’ perspectives on issue lists and issue management to some of the concepts outlined in the action management method "Getting Things Done” (GTD) developed by David Allen.
Basically this method rests on the principle that a person needs to move tasks out of their mind by recording them somewhere.
That way, the mind is freed from the job of remembering everything that needs to be done, and can concentrate on actually performing those tasks. Hmmm…sounds like the projects lifestyle to me…
Two things distinguish GTD from other time- or action-management systems.
GTD is not about prioritizing up front. It is about dealing with things as the come using a standard workflow.
Secondly GTD the idea of grouping tasks by the context (defined as a place or set of available resources) in which they are to be performed.
Really I wanted to see what would happen by applying GTD workflow to the project context and the issue process in particular.
You will need to view this in IE or install the excellent IE Tab plugin for Firefox to view this embedded MindMap Viewer.
For the truly afflicted you can grab the mind map as a pdf file.
Built by Mindjet LLC
The biggest thing really is the concept of collecting issues out of the minds of project team members and users and getting them recorded.
Issues running around in the wild are the dangerous ones.
Once you capture them, you can tame and manage them.
So doing, you exercise a lot more control over the unknowns in your project.
In the next and final post I will examine how better management of issues may have an overall impact on project outcomes by referring to Tipping Point theory.