People: The collaborative function of GTD in FacileThingsAUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
GTD is not a project management system but a methodology for personal productivity. This means that it is not a collaborative system per se, where everyone can access, view and even edit your tasks.
However, certain tasks that you should not do—or don’t want to do—may appear in your daily workflow. In that case, you must delegate them to other people or entities and put them in your Waiting For list, so that you can remember them in each Weekly Review and take appropriate action if necessary.
Since you’re still responsible for those tasks and surely they will have an impact on other future tasks or projects, you must be aware of their progress.
In FacileThings, we have completely redesigned and updated the People section to help you delegate tasks and keep track of them effectively. Here is an explanation of the most important improvements.
To create a new contact, click the New Person button and fill in the information you need. The only required data is the Screen name, a short name (one word) with which you can refer that person within any task, by prepending the
If the email address of that person matches any FacileThings user, you can invite him to connect with you. If you get connected, you will be able to delegate tasks to each other, add comments to shared tasks and track them in real time (more on this below):
If you receive an invitation from another user, you just have to give it a Screen name and accept to be connected:
Even if your colleague does not use FacileThings, you can delegate tasks to him and receive his feedback directly in FacileThings (more on this in the last section). To do this you should first get his permission and then check the box Send tasks by email:
In short, the new interface of the People section contains the following information:
- New Person. Button to create a new contact.
- Contact List. The list of your contacts indicates the type of contact (real, external or just information) and the number of pending tasks that each of them have at this time.
- Personal data.
- Links to email and social networks.
- Edit and Delete buttons. They allow you to edit and delete a contact. Be careful when deleting a real contact. All the actions you shared with that user will get detached.
- Waiting-for tasks. Outstanding tasks by this collaborator. These tasks are editable.
- Recently done tasks. Here you can see the tasks completed by this collaborator in the last 7 days.
How to delegate a task?
There are several ways to delegate a task to a partner:
- When you are processing it, you can write the collaborator
@namein the text and send the task to the Waiting For list.
- You can edit an action in your Next Actions list, add a
@nameand then click the Waiting For option.
- In the Waiting For list, you can use the new graphical option to assign the task to one of your contacts:
If you delegate an action to a person who has not been created yet, it will be automatically created. You can delegate tasks from your Lists, your Projects, the People section, the Process option and the Weekly Review.
If you have delegated the task to a real contact, he will receive an email and an internal notification. If you delegate a task to an external contact, it will receive an email with a link to a guests area where he can update the task.
If you change the person assigned to a task (assigning someone else, by clicking the Do myself option or eliminating the
@name in the text), an email will be sent to the previous owner of the task so he do not continue with it.
When delegating a task, you must explain very well what it is about and include all the information you can. You can use task notes to add more information, and include a checklist if it facilitates understanding and tracking the work.
Also, keep in mind that if the task belongs to a project, your partner will have access to the project Reference Material.
Tracking your delegated tasks
In the Waiting For list, you can check how your delegated tasks are going:
- Tasks by person. Unlike other lists, which are filtered by tags, the Waiting for list is filtered by people now, so you can focus on the tasks of a particular person at anytime.
- Filter applied. To remove the filter, click the name by which you’re currently filtering.
- Assigning a person. Graphical interface to assign a person to a task.
- People names in the text of the tasks. If you click on a
@name, you will go to the People section page that contains all the person’s data.
- Checklist. If you delegate a task with a checklist, here you can see how many points are already done and which remains undone.
- Comments. You can have a conversation with your partner to clarify issues about the task, answer questions, etc.
- Indicator of situation. If the task belongs to another FacileThings user, the list where the task is currently in his system is shown here.
Also, when your collaborators write a comment on a task or get it done, you will receive an email and an notification in FacileThings. When the task is finished, it automatically goes to the Done list.
If you are sending tasks to external partners, please let them know in advance so that they are ready and can receive emails from FacileThings.
When you delegate a task or add a comment to a delegated task, your partner will receive an email with the info and a link to a guest area, where he can see the task instructions, update the task and have a conversation with you about it:
- Description of the task, including notes.
- Checkpoints. By checking off the points, your task will be automatically updated.
- Comments. Your colleague can chat with you and view the log of the entire conversation.
- It’s done! Your partner must click here when the task is complete. After that, your partner will no longer have access to it.