February 03, 2006
GTD ~= PM || lists = lists

The other day I had a discussion that touched on whether GTD was applicable for groups, or just for individuals. In my recollection, a hinge question was whether GTD is time management or is it project management.

In essence, I currently come down believing that GTD has large overlap with project management, particularly on an individual level - enough that there is a great degree of applicability, if not in all details, certainly in mindset.

In the GTD "system" any multi-step commitments is defined as a project, but (as the saying goes) you don't DO the project, you do the actions which get that project to a state of doneness. In most of the current literature this is defined on an individual level - through an ongoing process of collection, processing, organizing, reviewing and acting one understands both what your commitments and projects are, but also what needs to be accomplished and completed.

In a group setting, I think these same ideas come back through two vectors.

First of all, each actor on a project should have that sense defined for themselves (and that same sense has the tricky to accomplish goal of fitting within all other commitments on that same person's plate).

On a second level, a project has the same elements inside itself, defined at the beginning and then redefined (in a continuous process) until completion. At any given moment on a project, there are things that are the Next Action - they are either on the critical path, or they are the only item that can possibly be moved forward. There are new ideas to be integrated back into the bigger picture, new subgoals to be oriented.

What is common to both project success and to personal accomplishment is the same - one has to understand, as clearly as possible, what the goals and means are, and what the current state is. If this can be done in a group, each member is more empowered to complete.

There can be distinctions on the day to day level - though lists (the key tool of GTD) are used in both places, the internal and external complexities of most group projects require more management - they have more distinctive interdependencies, which can be difficult to list at all times The understanding of ownership can be much more fluid in a team setting than on one's own lists. But the core - and simple - idea is the same. Know what is going on, and know what will be needed to go on.

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Posted by esinclai at February 03, 2006 10:45 PM |
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