Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Inelegant Complexities Simplified / Kibble Hockey

After parking the car this morning, I walked up 10 stories to my job. I do this about 3 or 4 times a week.

I will try to do it every day.

Realizing how much work I have to do this next couple of weeks now that I am having some clients transferred over to me and am starting on some account management (which I've never formally done before - I mainly do project management) I spent some today organizing my work.

I have been storing - like many folks do - my 'action' items in several kinds of storage areas:
  • Flagged e-mails in Microsoft Outlook - keeps a tab on incoming messages.
  • Issue Logs for specific projects - helps run project status meetings, and is useful to send to the clients.
  • My black book work notes - I push my to-do's forward each day so I have a current, running list of action items - a little star next to each 'actionable' item.
  • Printed-out papers, each with a signifying Post-It note briefly summarizing actions needed to complete the issue. I really don't like to have many of these, but I'll have a small stack of about 10 at a time...
  • A text file for each major client (about 5) on my desktop - I use this as a scribble-file while on conference calls, etc...

So after realizing the inelegant complexities of this system, I decided to convert these all to a single Excel action sheet - sortable by ID, ticket ID (our project docket system), client, item title and item description and finally - status (open/closed). Sounds complicated but it really isn't. I use something similar to project issue logs, and introduced this for our company's quality of service iterative project issue feedback system. Data/Auto-Filter is great. Once I've completed or resolved an issue/action item, I just put it to status 'Closed' and with the auto-sort, only the 'open' items remain showing on the list.

So I got to work: I converted each of my flagged e-mails, black book work notes, printed out papers with summary note, and text files on major clients into this master file.

I will still use my black book for meeting note taking, flag e-mails, maintain issue logs (for clients), print out papers and summarize actions for each, and maintain a text file for phone calls (maybe just use a single one)... but... at the end of couple of days or week I will transfer outstanding black book items into this action list, transfer flagged e-mail issues, printed out papers and text notes into this document.

And then I'll have a running list of everything in one place, categorized, deduped, and clarified.

I will try to do this management of issues/action-items every week.

By the way, remember I mentioned the game of kibble-hockey I had been trained in by Monty? Well you can see a little bit of a game here. Monty hops for his kibble bits. Or rather - I throw his kibble bits for him.