Yesterday, I got an email from John with questions so good about MasterList Professional, I thought it worthwhile to share them here.
I have been evaluating ML Pro for about a week. I like what you have done
here - it looks very good.
I am new to GTD, but have a background with Covey's methods and Tony Robbins programs. I have just started to read David Allen's book.
I have a few questions that I have not seen addressed.
1. I see from your forums that you originally planned on an update in Jan 06 but it appears that this has been delayed quite a bit. What are your intentions and commitment to upgrading and maintaining the product? I am certainly interested in using it but I don't want to go through the effort of integrating it into my workflow if it won't stay current.
Fair Question! My plans to update did get put on hold just after the first of the year due to a major illness in the family. That situation has resolved now. My new plan is to start doing small updates instead about every 10 days.
First update will be later today – this will be a tiny update, with only one new feature – MasterList Professional no longer has pictures of African animals here and there. They left because I finally realized that as a micro-ISV developer, my tastes should not be foisted on my customers.
So what happened to the major update features I’ve been promising for so long? Like true checklists, faster data entry, a more understandable Outlook integration? I will be adding all of these features, but one by one, sticking to a every 10 days or so update plan.
While it’s a pain as a customer to keep having to update an application, I think that given how MasterList Professional auto-updates work it will be a very small pain, well worth the steady stream of improvements in the product.
2. I see how it integrates with Outlook - nice. How do I use the two effectively together? Should I perform all of my task and scheduling from MLP or split it up some how?
Tough question. If you are not using Outlook to manage tasks now, I think you will get more value out of doing it all in MasterList Professional. If on the other hand, you have many tasks you currently manage in Outlook, I would integrate them.
Finally, if you have many tasks in Outlook that are unmanaged, I would import them into MasterList Professional, manage them there, and only integrate Current tasks back to Outlook where they might be more convenient to complete.
3. If I have a large task, say architect a new application with many sub-tasks, how should this be managed in MLP? As a project (architect app) with tasks (architect app sub-tasks)?
Currently, I would do this as a project, with tasks. Further, you can use Keywords to group tasks by context, person responsible, essential vs. non-essential, etc. Persistable checklists of subtasks for a task is high on the list to be addressed, so expect this to change in the coming weeks.
4. I am having a little difficulty in understanding the gestalt of your application. I believe I understand the parts but it is not obvious to me how to put it all together in a coherent system. Will learning GTD make your application's organizational system clear?
I’d like to think so! Managing tasks is one of the hardest things people have to do. Here’s the “Big Idea” behind MasterList Professional and it owes a lot to the Getting Things Done philosophy:
-You need one place where you can store, assess, track and marshal for execution all the professional and personal tasks in your life. I hope to make MasterList Professional that place for you.
-Externalizing all the “to do”s in your head clears your mind of them so you can better think, plan, create and execute.
-Every task has a cost in at least time, a level of importance and a degree of difficulty. If you don’t know what something costs, how do you know if you can afford it? Or if it’s a bargain?
-The more value you get from your time, the more successful you will be in life, however you define “success”.
micro-ISV, MasterList Professional