ResultsManager In-trays

Stefan asked a question on the Yahoo GTD MindManager group:

Hi all,

I am using the In-tray dashboard from Gyronix' ResultManager and AOs
"In-Tray.mmbas" macro to create a map that shows a) the actions in the in trays
and b) the links to the In-Trays. This way it is easy to have direct access to
the relevant in-trays / maps and work on it during weekly review.

I now found out, that the tasks in the in-tray are not selected by this dasboard
if the already have a category assigned. The result is that topics in the in
tray and the in-tray topic itself are not shown if all the topics in the in-tray
have a category (which can easily happen when you use OutLinker and have the
possibility to easily define categories when emptying your Outlook inbox).

I have no idea on how to change the in-tray categories (in-tray* and process) or
the dashboard filter to get all topics of the in-tray in the dashboard.

Any ideas?

Many thanks and best regards

Stefan

I got some clarifications from Stefan by email to better answer this question. He is running the "ao_full_intray_projects" macro from the activityowner macro library on a modified version of the Gyronix "Sweep and Review" dashboard. The Sweep and Review dashboard looks for activities with the category "process" as an indication of them being children of an in-tray topic.

The problem is that a topic only inherits the "process" category if it doesn't have its own category assignments. In-tray items (pre-mindreader) would typically not have markup so it normally wouldn't be an issue.

Nick Dufill has a good summary of inheritance properties on his beyond mindmapping website.

I don't think there is a way to "fix" the sweep and review dashboard to get around this. Here is how I would approach getting this type of information:

First, I highly recommend making your in-trays "sub-projects" rather than activities. The main reason for this is that it allows any project lacking a next action (but having an in-tray) to show up on dashboards as a project needs a next step. The filter that looks for projects lacking next actions isn't smart enough to realize the in-tray is not actually a next action.

If you have all your in-trays as sub-projects, then it would be possible to write a macro on the daily action dashboard that looks for call-out topics attached to next actions that are in-trays. The Next Action Analysis macro does in order to penalize for letting in-trays get too full or old.

6 Comments »

  1. Stefan Scheib said,

    March 14, 2010 @ 4:54 am

    Hi ActivityOwner,

    congratulations on your new startpage design. I find it clear and useful.
    Here is how I solved my "In-Tray problem" (which is actually not really a problem ;-)).
    I created a map that has collected all In-Trays hyperlinked from all my active project maps.
    With the help of "MapLinker" from AprioriIT I can update and collect all context of the In-Trays in that one map.
    The original In-Tray and the associated tasks are still in the original map and updated one-way to the summary map. This way it is easy to see in which map the In-Tray isn't empty and needs to be worked on.

    I had this integrated in my map central for a while but found it more useful to have just the In-Trays in one map.

    Best regards

    Stefan

  2. ActivityOwner said,

    March 14, 2010 @ 10:58 pm

    Thanks Stefan — Not sure if you use Next Action Analysis but I just uploaded a new version that gathers up items sitting in in-trays and puts them in an entry under the foresight branch. Might be a simpler solution for you. I personally don't worry too much about in-tray items as long as they have context and time assignments. Its is the in-tray item that doesn't have a natural context or time estimate that turns on the "blob" alarm bells.

  3. Stefan Scheib said,

    March 15, 2010 @ 3:42 pm

    Hi ActivityOwner,

    I am not using NAA so far but I was thinking about testing it for a while now. Maybe that's the right point of time now.

    Thanks

  4. ActivityOwner said,

    March 15, 2010 @ 5:40 pm

    I'd highly recommend it. It makes getting your dashboard under control more fun and provides a sense of progress and prioritization to the process.. If you have my gyroq.ini installed, just type "naa" at the gyroq prompt with your daily action dashboard open.

  5. Stefan Scheib said,

    March 16, 2010 @ 4:57 pm

    The technical setup is available for quite a while now. And now I started with adapting my maps.
    So far I am relying on dates, deadlines, priorities and context. And my selfmade dashboard is based on that.
    For using the Daily Action Dashboard I have to "rework" my maps. Which is not too bad since I have to clean them up anyway. When I am running a Daily Action Dashboar right away and then run NAA I get excellent scores – because it is nothing in there ;-))

    I have quite some experience with RM and the filters and methods but I am struggling. I realize that "committed" is the central requirement. But when running RM on a "list" and "funnel timeline" based map I get strange results.
    Not sure if it is a bug or an error in my logic or using the wrong check boxes in RM. E.g. when using funnel timeline a task appears in the dashboard when it has no start date and disappears when it get its start date back (I have start dates on all tasks…). And the dashboard filter says Start Date = Yes…
    Are there any basic requirements available for "Setting up project maps for NAA for Dummies"?
    I will contact you offline in case I have more stupid questions….

  6. ActivityOwner said,

    March 16, 2010 @ 6:03 pm

    Hi Stefan — If you can send me a sample map and/or dashboard template perhaps I can help you sort it out. "Committed" is default assumption so that should not be an issue. Usually a start date would only supress a task if set it in the future. If nothing is showing up in DA dashboard, it is possible that you have your "me" name defined differently in RM configuration than in the maps? Where are you using the "start date" filter?

    NAA is set up to analyze a "vanilla" english-language daily action dashboard. It looks for specific information in the various branches in that template. It would need some customization for other languages.

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