This week we implemented a new method of project management… or is it an old one?
Despite the fact that the boss is obsessed with trying out new software tools, and that many of us here are very technical people who work with computers all day, we decided to try out a “new tool” to help us manage projects and tasks that isn’t really all that new—the whiteboard.
We’ve lovingly dubbed our new whiteboard the “GSD” Board or “Getting Stuff Done” Board.
The inspiration came from the folks at SEOmoz and Distilled who have adopted this low-tech method of project management successfully. You can scope out their explanation in their Whiteboard Friday Video.
How the Getting Stuff Done Board Works
The idea behind the GSD Board is that everyone on the team will have a clear picture of what we’re all working on. Everyone on the team has a list of tasks on their column, written on sticky notes, rather than directly on the whiteboard, making it easy to move tasks around as needed.
There’s a line separating the top couple of stickies from the rest. That’s the “line in the sand” as Tom Critchlow puts it, that separates the stuff you’re working on right now from the rest of the stuff on your to-do list.
Every morning the team gets together and has a quick 5-10 minute meeting to discuss what we’ve got going on for the day. It’s useful because we can plan our day around what projects everyone’s working on.
More Meetings That Take Up Less Time
A meeting every morning sounds like a big fast waste of time. I mean, meetings are practically the opposite of getting stuff done right? But we’ve found that a bunch of mini-meetings every day quickly get everyone up to speed on what’s going on, which is a lot more helpful than the usual 2 hour Friday meeting. In fact while I was in Boston for a really great SEO Seminar, I met some folks from other companies that swear by short morning meetings in which everyone gets a maximum of 2 minutes to talk. The result is that everyone knows what to focus on that day and the meeting doesn’t slow productivity.
For instance, if Andrew (our very talented designer) knows that I can’t move forward on a project until a design is done, he’s gonna make it a priority. Normally those kinds of details would be worked out via email or long weekly meetings. Short daily meetings means faster communication and getting stuff done faster.
Accomplishments Section (Stuff That Got Done)
One of the most important parts of the GSD Board is of course the accomplishments section. Whenever a task is completed, it gets moved into this section of the board. It’s great to see that we’ve been getting a lot of stuff done, and it feels really good to get to move stuff onto this part of the board. (It also has been getting a little bit competitive. So far Igor and Kaitlyn are tied, but as soon as I finish this blog post, I’ll be back in the game!)