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How Long Is It a Project?

OK, this might sound stupid, but that's why I'm here, right?

It's probably easiest to explain what I mean with an example.

I redesigned a website for my church. The Project was to finish the redesign. That's done. Now, I am mostly responsible for keeping content updated and such until I can have a training session with the staff for the CMS after a big conference we are hosting the first week of August. So, the question is this: Is "Church Website" still a project? If not, do I just stick my NA's on context cards (hPDA, baby!)?

I am in a similar situation with a site I finished for a client a while back. I still do periodic maintenance, and they just asked me to do some design adjustments as well. Is this still the same project? Is it a new project? Somewhere in between?

I realize I could just keep adding stuff to those project cards, but it seems to defeat the purpose really of having a specific goal in mind. Why bother with a project list at all if it's just going to go on ad nauseum infinitum?


Paul's picture

I think how you categorize...

I think how you categorize it (project, or just NA's) depends on how you want to be able to look at it when you do your weekly reviews, and how you "do" GTD overall.

"Design Church Website" and "Design Client Website" were definitely projects. I sense that you feel like you can track the maintenance better if you close these out and do something different with your other related open loops. I think I would feel that way, too.

Some ideas: Make "Church Site Maint." a new project. It may not even need any next actions under it - but you'd catch it in your review & think about whether you needed to do an update or not. If you do, then you will create a next action.

This seems like it might be cleaner than continually carrying the baggage of "Church site" on you NA lists that you're looking at a lot.

This kind of thing is where a computer-based system can help, if you use one in addition to the HPDA. if the timing works, you can set up a recurring task to review the site & see if you need to do anything.

That all goes only if the maintenance and updates are actually driven by you. If someone at church feeds you the actions - "Hey, Berko, the picnic is coming up in a month, can you put it on the website?" then you may not need to do any "tracking"- you get the action assigned when someone needs your help, and you add it to a list.

If that's how it works, I would say it's easiest to just add those specific actions to your NA list (whichever context it fits) and not worry about tying them to a project.

How you handle the client sites might be the same, or not. For a client, it's a real plus if you can anticipate their needs, and it could result in some additional cash business for you. So maybe doing something that will prompt you to think about their site on regular basis is a good thing. Also, if you have a boss (not sure if you're a freelancer or not), it's good to have some documentation of all the sites you're tasked with maintaining, whether you have any current work pending or not. Emory's got some good thoughts on this in his whitepaper.

Hopefully there's something useful in my long, rambling post!




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