Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Project Management: Best Practices With ResultsManager

When you start the ResultsManager wizard (appropriately called "ResultsMerlin"), it asks you to create a Map Central and maps for Personal and Professional areas of your life. You don't have to, but I can tell that after trying out ResultsManager three times -- it really is "best practices" to do it their way.

And today . . . another uber-map bit the dust, thanks to ResultsManager. That's kinda beside the point, but I wanted to crow about it anyway.

No longer is it an orphaned, bloated storage map crammed with forgotten and half-remembered tasks, but filled with the best of intentions.


Now, it's in my ResultsManager system and most importantly, it is *accounted for and in my schedule.

When I used ResultsManager's "Sweep-Up" dashboard, I found this MindManager version of the Island Of Misfit Toys. Only in my case, it's more like the Archipelago Of Misfit Toys.

But I'll assimilate them one gulag at a time, okay? I can hear the Wicked Witch cackling, "I'll get you my pretties! You and your little Solzhenitsyn, too!"

Okay ... I'll quit mixing my metaphors ... for now, anyway.

So I gritted my teeth, girded my loins, put my game face on and set about assimilating all of misfit projects, sub-projects and tasks into existing project maps, or I created new maps and linked up to others, where appropriate.

Then I did a review to get a weekly overview of the upcoming week. And once I made a few adjustments to items I missed ... actually, I can't take credit for finding them. Den Mother ResultsManager found them and put them into a map area "Overdue Items."

Now, this is where the rubber meets the road -- where do I put the Personal projects items that have been hiding out in my Uber-Maps Of Misfit Tasks?

Dump them all into the Personal projects maps? Ugh. Smells too much like another uber-map to me.

Hmm. There must be an ResultsManager-based solution to this.

Anyone else out there faced with this problem?

Sing out! Might be nice if the folks at Gyronix chimed in on this, too.


Blogger Nick said...


The toughest part about sharing all your secrets with ResultsManager is that it keeps coming back to you about decisions you haven't made. Getting control of your uber-maps and having everything organised and accounted for in dashboard maps is, unfortunately, only half the journey. It's like the coach driver in the black and white horror movies who would always say "I'll take you the the bottom of the hill, and after that you're on your own". What often happens next is that it shows you have more you must do than you possibly can do, and it doesn't give up making its point.

You then have a choice.

You can regard it as a weakness in the technology, and put the whole thing on the back burner again.

Or, you can respond to the real message that an "overloaded" dashboard map represents, which is that you have not yet done enough prioritising.

Your aiming point should be to discard or renegotiate commitments until your dashboards realistically reflect your capacity. This can be done by either throwing things out altogether, labelling them as someday/maybe (i.e. never), or deferring them to some future date when you will "have more time". You can only do what you can do. Most people work better when slightly over-delivering than when feeling they are continually under-performing. For some people, ruthlessness is a natural gift. For others, there is no denying this is the hardest part of the process. I am a habitual collector of "things to do" and still find it very difficult to genuinely let go of something, just in case.

What ResultsManager lets you do is take these prioritisation decisions across a range of projects, not just one at a time. Individually, commitments often appear more important than they are. Taken as a group, it is slightly easier to be realistic about priorities, but this is both the key to and the toughest part of making any system work, regardless of the technology.

Best regards
Nick Duffill

3/29/2006 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

... and I forgot to actually answer one of your questions. I have a map called "Pandoro's Box", which has all those things in that I know will bite me one day, but I don't want to make the time to think through right now. It's a different colour and style to everything else that is current. It's there when I need it.

Nick Duffill

3/29/2006 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Philosphically, I highly recommend you take the structuring of your Personal folders and maps as seriously as you take your professional projects. Thinking of a Yin and Yang symbol as a visual, the professional results you seek will only be had if you are vigorously managing your personal life. Physical, Emotional and Social self-maintenance are in many respects the foundational platforms from which truly unique professional projects can be launched.

Therefore, on a practical basis, take special care to build your personal folder and map infrastructure with care. Then, link to your Personal Projects from your Map Central and prioritize ruthlessly on a weekly basis.

3/30/2006 10:33:00 AM  

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