Multiple projects


I spotted some templates I hadn't seen before over at Productive Flourishing that got me thinking. It was particularly the Weekly Project Planner, which has space to identify 5 active projects, 5 deadlines, 5 milestones, plus scheduled events and a weekly dashboard, all on a single page. I printed one out and filled it in just to see if it would give me a different perspective on a very busy week.

Last week I had 7 projects, one trip, two people to mentor, plus a boatload of meetings for said projects and mentorees to track. Of course, with all the meetings and travel and stuff, I didn't get much coding done, but at least I managed to cover the big stuff. My calendar is electronic, so I don't need paper for that--I have to consolidate views of four different calendars and Google Calendar does that for me very well. It syncs with outlook so I can have a familiar interface and greater ability to color code and mark reminders and stuff. So that's working fine for the time-specific stuff. I give each customer a category and a color, and I mark the emails (mostly with rules) and meetings with the proper color/category so I can group things together. It keeps my box from being overwhelming.

Specific smaller tasks I have to work on are managed in various places--ticket lists in different customer websites, basically. Each customer has their own web instance, and they keep all their to-dos there so they can be assigned to the various folks who work on them. Sometimes it's just me, sometimes it's a whole team of people from my company and theirs. So the small details are covered too. I like having these lists separated because otherwise it'd be too confusing. I'm working on coding up similar applications for 3 different customers right now, and if their requirements were all mushed together I'd be sticking the wrong stuff in the wrong place.

So I've been thinking about that intermediate level--each project's overall expectations for the week. For example, one project needs a document and an expense report. Another project is waiting for a meeting next week. A third project is in requirements gathering. Project 4 is waiting for a free moment to code up something small. Project 5 is being worked by one of my mentorees and I need to poke around and make sure she's not headed down the wrong path. Project 6 is completely reactive, they ask me for a meeting when they want my time on something. Every week I have a 1-1 with my manager, who wants to know in general what's going on, how many hours a week I spend on stuff, when my time is going to free up so he can send me another project, and that sort of thing.

I thought about using Google Keep for this, just one note per project with a few words about what's going on. The formatting is kinda bugging me, but it does give me a kind of dashboard view of what's going on to jog my memory. I also thought about using Trello, since it's a bit more flexible in that respect and multiple cards can be nested under a single grouping. I'm also considering a white board approach, since I can be completely freeform there--but my desk isn't really laid out to make a white board a convenient thing to use. I am considering a simple document a la "On Top of Everything" by Laurence Seton. I'm also thinking about bringing out my 3x5 cards and my card stand.

So at the moment I'm kinda undecided about what I want to do besides tell my boss to give me only one or two projects at a time. :) I have a feeling they're going to load me up until stuff starts to slide out of control, then back off by one. *rolls eyes* But I thought I'd share the process and a couple of these things I've recently run across, just in case someone else gets a kick out of them.


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