Chiseling Down Project Templates

I felt super overwhelmed last week. My evenings were packed. I had a board meeting, a council meeting, a book club, a class, a monthly discussion group on personal knowledge management, a monthly discussion group on things we’ve learned in the past month, and volleyball (twice). I ended up falling behind on my other personal projects.

This week I find myself still struggling to catch up.

In reflecting on this struggle, I looked at my project templates. I think I may be creating unnecessary work for myself.

At present, my project kick-off template has 7 set-up steps and these prompts:

  • Intermediate Packets (Past, Present, and Future)
  • Current and related thoughts
  • People who may be interested or may be able to contribute
  • Foreseeable challenges
  • Why is this important to me?
  • What does done look like?
  • What does success look like? How will I measure it?

And my project retro template has 9 wrap-up steps and these prompts:

  • How successful was this project?
  • Does this project lead into or inspire any future projects?
  • Are there any remaining open loops?
  • What went well that should be repeated in the future?
  • What didn’t go well and what can be changed to improve next time?
  • What learnings from collected feedback can be applied to future projects?

Some of these are repetitive. Some of these don’t provide value to me right now. And if they aren’t providing value, they’re just providing unnecessary work.

I’m gonna try experimenting with a simpler process. I’ve combined these two templates into one. This new template has 4 set-up steps and 0 wrap-up steps. It also has the following prompts:

  • Success Metrics
    • Target/Goal
    • Actual/Results
  • Related Links
  • (Optional) Pre-Mortem/Planning
  • (Optional) Post-Mortem/Reflection

This feels much lighter. Hopefully it allows me to move much faster while still seeing the same value.

Leave a Reply