Getting decisions into action as soon as possible

| January 15th, 2008 | ,

All 30 day trials of Intervals come with one hour of free training included. We have learned a lot during these trainings and questions regularly come up about how we use Intervals to manage our work at Pelago. For example, are there any process tips that might be helpful in addition to how to use the software? How do you guys do things?

We are going to share more of our daily process at Pelago hoping that it might be helpful to other similar businesses wrestling with similar questions.

I had a client meeting today on a project with a very aggressive timeline and it dawned on me to share getting tasks into action as quickly as possible. It is a tip I learned from a colleague who is an advocate of David Allen’s Getting Things Done approach. We typically work on over 30 projects a week (internal and client related) and the volume of details can be a bit much if not managed properly. As someone who manages work for a small company (in addition to marketing, support, information architecture, IT, HR, development, plant watering, coffee fetching, etc.) it is paramount for me to get our team involved and working. In my meeting today, clear tasks and deliverables came out of it. Instead of sitting on my notes or getting to it later like I used to do, I turned the notes into tasks. Why do it right away?

  • Cross assign tasks – immediately think through which members of our team can add the most value and get them involved. If they weren’t at the meeting, they will have new insights that may have been overlooked.
  • Force yourself to articulate things – I had six tasks to create coming out of the meeting, but only four ended up “open” (aka people can work on them). The other two ended up with the “review w/client” status because as I articulated what needs to happen it became clear to me that we don’t have everything we need to make that happen so I immediately fired off a follow-up request to our client.
  • Asynchronous – as soon as I am done assigning the tasks I am on to the next item and my mind and attention will focus on that. The team members who were assigned the tasks immediately get notified and they can take a look right away or later when it is more convenient to do so. All of the brain energy that went into the meeting is now ready for action.
  • Focus – it turns a thought into action – the task has a due date, estimated time and someone responsible for it

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A collection of useful tips, tales and opinions based on decades of collective experience designing and developing web sites and web-based applications.

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Intervals is online time, task and project management software built by and for web designers, developers and creatives.
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John Reeve

John is a co-founder, web designer and developer at Pelago. His blog posts are inspired by everyday encounters with designers, developers, creatives and small businesses in general. John is an avid reader and road cyclist.
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Michael Payne

Michael is a co-founder and product architect at Pelago. His contributions stem from experiences managing the development process behind web sites and web-based applications such as Intervals. Michael drives a 1990 Volkswagen Carat with a rebuilt 2.4 liter engine from GoWesty.
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