Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Project Planning Time

One of the areas of being a church technical director where I am least experienced is the area of project management. Yet, if I'm doing my job, I'm not actually DOING much. When I'm succeeding, I'm directing others to complete projects with excellence and timeliness. Those others may be staff members or volunteers, but they really are the ones doing the work under my direction.

Therefore, project planning has become one of my most critical tasks. I spend several hours each Tuesday in my project planning routine. Here's a peek into that routine...

I found the book Getting Things Done by David Allen to be very helpful in learning to plan projects. I found his deliniations between "project" and "task" very instructive. Anything with two steps or more is a project. That makes a lot of things projects that I would have otherwise considered tasks.

I have adapted his processes a bit to include "Major Projects" which are made up of many "Projects" which are made up of many tasks. I have a document with all my major projects listed. Each Tuesday I go through the major projects and identify what projects have been completed and what new projects need to be added to kick the major project along, however slowly. I also look at each project and and do the same for the tasks associated with it.

This process can take upwards of three hours for my twenty current major projects, but it is probably the most productive three hours of my day. If you don't do project planning, start today!

For those of you who are tool geeks like me, I use MindJet MindManager to document my major projects, projects, and tasks. Then, I have an Applescript that will automatically load all new tasks into my Entourage task list. If you are interested in seeing examples, let me know.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can vouch for the benefit of MindManager. I came across it about a month or so ago and played with the trial for only a couple of days before I knew it was something I could use with great effectiveness.