Project Management

By Cindy Pao, President

I saw a conversation start on LinkedIn recently about tools for tracking technical communication projects. It made me think about my own tracking system – and it it’s a good one or not.

I use a combination of tools: Excel, my wall-of-whiteboard, a piece of scratch paper, and my email inbox.

My Excel spreadsheet has tabs for what I’ve worked on during the current week, a list of all of the policies and procedures I’ve got in progress, a list of all the projects that don’t count as policies or procedures, a list of the things I’ve finished this year (and last, and the year before that), and a list of cancelled projects.

Next, my wall-of-whiteboard has lists for the things I’ve worked on most recently. For example, I’ve listed the top-priority documents for the Health, Safety & Environmental and Human Resources departments, as well as what’s going on with my intranet projects and some of the process guides I have going to various operations groups. At the end of each day, I write down – in the middle of the wall – what I hope to do the next day. One of the reasons I love the wall-of-whiteboard is that it helps others visualize all of the projects I have going. Not that this visualization stops them from giving me more, but it sure seems to make an impression.

Then there’s the scratch paper and my email inbox. Some days, you just have to fight the fires that you didn’t know about yesterday.

How do you stay organized?