I have been working on a wide variety of projects lately, and keeping track of the details and status of them all has been a bit nerve-wracking. Putting them on project lists helped a lot with what to do, but I still found myself searching for status information such as:
- What have I done on this already?
- Who am I waiting to hear back from?
- What's left to do?
- What's in process but not complete?
Managing this with context lists in the "GTD way" wasn't quite cutting it for me (or maybe I'm doing it wrong). I found myself going to multiple lists very frequently to try to get a holistic picture of where each of my projects stood. To solve this, I turned to my old pal Mind Manager to help me create a "status map."
My "real" status map has too much work-related information that I can't share publicly, so I have mocked up an example of one here. For each project, I map out things such as:
You can (obviously) customize this in any way you'd like. I find that I can keep multiple projects current on my status map (I currently have 4 major "domains" of activity on my map - 3 for work, 1 for home). When I have status meetings, I can print a particular "branch" of the map if the status meeting is about a particular project, or I can print the whole map (I use 11" x 17" paper for better readability). I print the whole map (with the "Home" branch collapsed) when I go into one-on-one meetings with my boss, so I can take him through what I'm working on and where things stand.
As we go through the project review, I write on the printed copy of the map and re-integrate my notes back into my Mind Map later.
This is working pretty well for me, and makes it a bit easier to keep the plates spinning without letting any of them drop.
Here is another mocked-up section of a project to give you an idea the kinds of things that might be in some of the buckets (you can click to zoom in).
If you want to see a blurry, unreadable, zoomed out picture of my real map you can see it here, just for grins.