8 Feb 2015

Gendover Week 4; More Tracking and More Management

‘sketchnote project management’ by Luigi Mengato
available under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic licence.

I dealt with tracking searches, my reasons for it, and the methods I use in last week's blog post (which you can easily find here).

And so this  post is dedicated to PROJECT MANAGEMENT. Now I shout this because the term scares me. I also think it is over-used.  When I started as an administrator for the NHS, project management, and therefore project managers where (and still are) all the rage, with a lot of resources being used to have team members trained up to PRINCE2 standard.

It drove me loopy, and it put me off the whole idea of project management. I couldn't understand why you had to be trained to use a spreadsheet to track your progress; couldn't people use common sense? Well that was over five years ago, and now I'm trying to run many projects I can understand why you (and I) need training!!

I started this week by watching Thomas's video on how he uses his project management spreadsheet, which he has kindly provided to the community, and be found at http://hackgenealogy.com/projectmanagement. It is definitely worth 8 minutes of your time.

It's a fairly simple set up, the tasks are colour-coded to indicate their importance as well as being given a numerical rating i.e. red (1) = urgent, yellow (2 / 3) = not so much, green = done. Each task is given a task number, a start date, due date and compilation date, along with a place to record how long you spent doing it.

There is also a separate tab for, what Thomas calls his, 'Idea Parking Lot' which appears to be a list of things to do.

I've already expressed my views on having a separate 'To-Do' list and I wouldn't want to combine it with this document for the reasons previously stated.

I can see how this spreadsheet would be useful when managing professional, billable actions but not so much for the day-to-day stuff (other than for getting in the habit).

I can see how it would be useful for streamlining your actions and not spending 30 minutes on Facebook just pottering around.

BUT .... and it's a big but ... I can't see myself using it.

What I would do is tinker around with it, adding macro's and conditional formatting, links to other workbooks and the like, and then never opening it again. It would take me more time to fill out something like this than I have spare.  When it comes to billable hours, these would be noted within the research log, as I'd have to know where the hours were spent (duplicating entries doesn't work for me).

However, after reading 'Project Management for Any Person!' by Rebecca Dwight I have signed up to Trello to help me manage my time better.

I joined it mainly because it's mascot is a husky ....... yes I know!

It is working; today I added boards for my One-Name Study blog, website and Facebook group as I have to add some images to them but don't have the time to today, I may be able to during a quiet spot at work. So I won't forget and I have all the information easily to hand.

*Disclaimer - although I have provided a link to Trello, it is not a referral link. I will not receive any benefits if you decide to join after clicking it. Although if you want to share with your friends they do have a referral programme.