How To Manage Projects

By Rob Wicker

Getting Things Done by management consultant David Allen is a huge best-seller. Allen has a multitude of apostles devoted to his time management system. His prose is a bit New Age, but the ideas are sound. I especially like his approach to project management. Allen uses what he describes as the Natural Planning Method for projects. I put Allen’s words in italics:

  1. Define the Purpose and Principles – In other words, why do you want to do this project?
  2. Outcome Visioning ­– What will the success of this project look like?
  3. Brainstorm – Dump your ideas about the project into a pile without restrictions
  4. Organize ­– Pick out the best ideas you came up with
  5. Identify Next Actions – What are the logical actions you need to take make your project successful.

A step not mentioned in Allen’s book but one I have found useful is to spend some time answering the question: “What could prevent success?” This isn’t a negative statement when it is used to truthfully contemplate in advance whether your idea has merit, and if you have the time and resources to pull it off. David Allen’s book is worth a read, even if you consider yourself to be an efficient person.

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