|Last updated: 7/19/2002; 2:52:33 AM|
Marketing 101. Consulting 101. PHP Consulting. Random geeky stuff. I Blog Therefore I Am.FuzzyOffice :: Spec 01 :: Rethinking Todo Lists in an Age of Distributed, Virtual Teams and Cross Organization Projects It's painfully clear, at least to myself, that the traditional model of the humble todo list no longer meets the requirements placed upon on it. Todo items are at the root of every organization, every individual and every project. We need to re-think todo lists in order to handle today's ever changing environment.
Problems with Classical Todo Items A classic todo list has multiple problems including:
- Being inherently single user which hinders collaboration
- Being tied to a singel machine at a point when individuals travel more than ever
- Not allowing easy delegation such as Gretchen asking Scott to do something except by emailing someone which they then either lose track of in their inbox
- Not allowing Person A to check on Person B's todo items -- essential in a cooperative workgroup environment where the people may be collaborating but geographically separate
- Not maintaining a history of done items that can be viewed, checked and verified
- Not being tied into a billing system
- Complex todo items are insufficiently described by a short item. A body of content is needed to explain a complex item.
- Tasks Only Have Boolean States -- done or not done -- when you need to really have options like in progress, deferred, etc.
- Tasks Lack Relationships to Other Tasks
People and the Environment Have Changed Significantly.
- People - busier, less focused, more interrupt driven, more communications centric than ever before
- Environment -- Projects are faster paced than ever before along with a higher degree of concurrency. So not only are projects cut short, they are interrupted and resumed regularly.
Properties of Todo Items A todo item can have these properties:
- Work or Personal
- By adding "NAME: blah, blah, blah" in the subject the NAME token is treated as the name of a project
- Example: BLN: Rewrite Project Documentation would add a todo item of "Rewrite Project Documentation" with a project of BLN
- By adding NAME: NAME1: NAME2: NAME3: NAME4: the additional name tokens are treated as sub projects building a virtual hierarchy of todo items allowing a tree rather than a list to be displayed
A series of automatically recognized attributes such as
- client name
- Time Spent
- A series of automatically recognized attributes such as
- Null (the default)
- In Progress
Data Format The following data formats should be supported
- Subject Line becomes the todo item
- A series of bulleted items within the body of the email become a series of todo items
A personal todo item for yourself can be handled by sending a message to firstname.lastname@example.org & cc'ing it to email@example.com.
A todo item for yourself that needs to be done today can be handled by sending a message to firstname.lastname@example.org and cc'ing it to email@example.com.
A future item can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org such as subject: Next Year body: Take Gretchen to Shabu * Restaurant
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