The Raptor Task Management System
I wrote on my Conduit connection that I had worked out a way to change my task management system to handle 11 different projects for two different manufacturing locations with team members scattered across 8 time zones. Some people have asked me to explain this a little further. I should probably start off by saying that I really didn’t change any of my tools. As I started to put together some ideas as to how I wanted to tame this beastly set of tasks, I went back to my program management days and dev died that a Gantt chart is a must. A Gantt chart is a 30,000 foot view of all of the actions for each project applied to a timeline. It is great for being able to see how all of the actions line up in a given time period. This sort of chart is a common tool used by program managers to track the progress of a project based on how the tasks are completed. For me, I am using the tool to make sure that I am doing the stuff that I am supposed to do in the right order. Also, it gives me a chance to see where schedule conflicts may be so that the managers of the different projects can be made aware of them and give them a chance to agree on what the priority is. I did look to see if there are any task management apps that would take the tasks across multiple projects and plot them in a Gantt chart. Sadly, it appears that there isn’t one on the market. There are Gantt tools that are used for managing teams. I am basically a team of one. I solved this problem by finding a Gantt chart template that I could use in Excel. As much as I don’t like to have to enter the same information anywhere more than once, it is a comparatively small price to pay for having this view of all of the tasks. At the 10,000 foot level, I reorganized my projects in Todoist so that I could take advantage of tags and sub tasks. This change allowed me to be able to easily focus on a specific project as needed. This is helpful during meetings tasks can be added and due dates can be changed with no warning. I can use that information at the end of the day to update the Gantt Chart. The 500 foot level is what is going on in a given day. For that, I use the Sidekick Note Pad to deal with the work day ahead. One of the things I have to do, as part of my job is to track how much time I spend on a given project. As far as how I use the Sidekick, I put the day’s actions due that day on the far right side of the page that is set up for a to do list. To the left of the to do list, I have an informal column where I record the times I am working on a given project. The times are rounded up to the quarter hour for easy math. I am glad that I don’t need to track to the second. The rest of the space on the sheet of paper I use for notes that I take over the course of the day. At the end of the work day, I transcribe the meeting notes into the appropriate file in OneNote, update the Gantt chart with any changes and take a look at what is due over the next couple of days. Once all of the is done, I don’t think about work until the next day. While there are things that I wished I could find to make things a little easy on myself, I think that this process is working well for me. It came from stuff that I already have or I could find something easy to modify to suit what I needed. The most important part is that I am keeping stuff going that I am depended on to do and I don’t need to be concerned about having forgotten something. My time is really limited and any advantage I can find to keep from drowning in tasks is a good thing.