A Year of Getting Things Done: Reality in Project Management


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This is not from a 'manufacturing' person, but there's a lot of good thoughts. This is from A Year of Getting Things Done: Part 1, The Good Stuff (The book is Getting Things Done by David Allen):
In a previous life as a producer and project manager for some good-sized web projects, I once approached my work with a completely baseless optimism and sense of possibility that I had absolutely no business feeling--let alone foisting off on others as way to guide big projects. Especially given how extravagantly long-range I now realize most of those projects' aspirations really were. Yikes. Simpler times.

The reality is that projects change, and projects break; that's what they do. It's their job. The smaller your project is, and the shorter the distance there is between "here" and "there," the less likely you are to have to chuck it and start over for reasons you couldn't possibly have foreseen when you were knitting up them fancy GANTT charts for Q3/2007.

You know how it works with The Big Plan. Projects kick off, a series of heavy documents with 4-color covers is produced and distributed, everyone gets pumped for a week or two, and then somewhere, somehow, along the way, changes start to rain down, and the pretty, pretty plans for the next 3/6/9/12 months go completely to ****, often taking team morale and productivity right along with them. Say what you will about the volatility of go-go dotcoms and the nature of venture IT projects, but two bald facts won't wipe away: things always change, and Big Project Plans make great door stops.

Since picking up GTD, I've gotten more comfortable with employing informal, "back of the envelope" planning to derive very short-term goals and actions. Clients in particular seem to really like this. It helps them keep a handle on the tab, plus they all enjoy seeing one piece of the work rolling out every month or so. All without the need for endless commitments, rosaries, or finger crossing.
Some good project management thoughts.
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Getting Things Done


The David Allen book is among the 10 or so books I keep close at hand. Very prescriptive, but very effective. The chapter on project management is a gem - concise and loaded with easy-to-use advice you can put to work immediately. I give very few books as gifts -- this is one of those few.
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