Chapter 3 – Getting Projects Creatively Under Way

I am now through with chapter 3 of the Getting Things Done book from David Allen. Chapter 3 is titled Getting Projects Creatively Under Way: The Five Phases of Project Planning. This chapter is the longest so far in the book and looks at the way we should, and probably already do identify and manage projects. This is the last chapter in part one of the book, The Art of Getting Things Done and acts as the supporting act to part two of the book which looks to be where the fun really starts.

Chapter 3 starts by explaining what David refers to as Horizontal and Vertical focus. The theory behind these is quite easy. We all have things to do in our lives. These can all be classed as projects. Some projects are small, such as remembering to buy a card for your wifes birthday or remembering to pay the milk bill, whilst others can be significant. Significant projects can include tasks such as planning a holiday, wedding, or other engagement through to launching a new product at your workplace.

So, how does this relate to Horizontal and Vertical focus? well, most of the time Horizontal focus is all you need to manage your smaller projects. With Horizontal focus, you look across your projects using an Horizontal plane. The size of these projects allow you to take this approach just to ensure that they are in check. Horizontal focus in the book is defined as:

Horizontal focus can be broke into the key ingredients of clearly defined outcomes (projects) and the next actions required to move them towards closure, and reminders placed in a trusted system that are reviewed regularly.

However, larger projects require a more Vertical focus. After explaining Horizontal focus, I hope that what is required for Vertical focus is pretty self explanatory. Vertical focus is where you need to apply greater planning to the project due to its complexity and importance of outcome. It is with this planning that the rest of chapter 3 places its focus.

It is at this point where we are introduced to the three planning models. These are:

  1. The Natural Planning Model
  2. The Un-Natural Planning Model
  3. The Reactive Planning Model

We will look at the three models in the next blog post…

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  1. Pingback: The Planning Models - Natural Planning with GTD at Did I Get Things Done? - Getting Things Done GTD with Personal Development and Motivation for Success

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