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Finding the boundary between my 'stuff' and other people's 'stuff'

I'm in the very early phases (just started this morning :) ) of re-evaluating my GTD knowledge and developing a new system for myself. Essentially I am a long time believer (first read in Nov 2002) but have never implemented a system that I followed for more than a few days. I am like most of us here. Easily distracted, too much to do, in love with pr0n and all the other reasons we have a tough time actuallying "doing" GTD.

Reading David Hallowell's book, "Crazy Busy", one sentence really stuck in my brain. ?Just get well enough organized so that disorganization doesn?t keep you from reaching your goals.? That catalyzed my desire to really do it this time and follow through.

So fare I have generated a few lists of questions and statements to catalyze my thinking and creativity and I ran into an inrteresting point I thought would be good for this group to weigh in on as I am sure it affects more than just me.

A little context to help frame this. I am a middle-level manager in a large (5,000+ people globally) IT shop with four engineers reporting to me and a lot projects in motion at any time, typically around 40. I am directly/personally "doing" things for about 15% of the total number of projects. The rest are delegated and I need to keep an eye on them. Our department has a rudimentary project tracking mechanism via a glorified Excel spreadhseet that the management team uses across all teams to provide a cohesive view for our boss.

The question I asked myself is, "Do I need to put everyone's projects in my system?"

I think this is one of several things that has sabotaged my previous attempts to set up a working system because with 40 or so projects among 4 people and around 200 possible NAs I get flustered and terrified of how much that really is to keep on top of and I run for the hills. I have not made up my mind but I think if I keep a list of projects that are delegated along with who has them, when I need the next update and some text for the latest update I may be able to reduce the fear factor by making them a smaller part of the population in my system. I need to be detailed on the projects an NAs that are mine and that's what I want the focus on.

Anyone have something to say? Have you tried this and succeeded or failed?

I will chronicle my trials and tribulations of the whole process at http://insidethebox.wordpress.com for anyone interested. I figure it adds pressure of putting out for the public to read so I don't want to give up so easy.

randellt's picture

Would it make sense to...

Linda;5720 wrote:
Would it make sense to have a list of designated projects who's status you check up on once a month as part of a "monthly review" (or whatever time-frame is appropriate for project scale and the autonomy level of your direct reports), but not track the actions for the project at all?

This now "feels" like the right way to go based on what everyone is writing and what I know deep down about good delegation and management. I totally agree that tracking the next actions myself will drive me right back to where I am digging out from, which is being too involved with and too worried about other people's stuff.

The leading solution for me right now it to leave all these delegated projects in the tracking system my boss wants us all to use. My focus should be on making sure all of the projects have a defined vision of what the outcome will be and enough milestone and deliverables to get it rolling. Then I and the delegatee will have our contract for what they'll deliver and what I need to see delivered. I may coach them in some GTD and get them to list at least one next action for every project they own in the weekly status report. I need to see how they'll take to it to judge how successful or frustrated I may get.

Thanks for all the good advice here. I am in a better frame of mind about this issue.




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