I do international software implementations, which usually involves quite a bit of remote work. It is an ongoing problem that requirements and designs get lost in the email chains, and then it is a major search to find the latest version, make sure it has all the suggestions, the latest spreadsheet/ PPT, and then go forward.
This document assists in gathering this information and storing it in a central place.
The basic example that I will use to explain this doc, is that of doing adjustments to a software package as part of the package implementation, with discussions during meetings, the need to send minutes and create action items for follow up.
Some of the functionalities, like meetings, and even the action items can be ignored without impacting the ability to collect data.
Personally I use this same idea for my to-do list. Each “project” that I am working on is a gap, with its related page. I will flesh out that “project” on the page, and as actionable items arise, add them to the Action Item list at the bottom of the page. Another view of the Action Item list then shows all the Action Items, typically in date sequence.
What are the benefits of planning like this? I have find that with the traditional project/ task list approach, the number of tasks quickly expands, and one cannot see the forest for the trees. Using the Page/ Action list approach, all of the basic thoughts and ideas are on the same page, and Action items are very specific.
The second benefit is that if one experienced some time away from the topic, it is MUCH easier to pick up where you left off if everything is on the same page.
I think that this doc and approach can scale from a single user, to many users. How well it escalates, will be as much due to the document itself, than what it is to the discipline and co-operation of the users.
It consists of three basic tables:
Gaps, Meetings and Action items
Gaps - This is the main table, where one creates a “gap” to address a specific requirement. In the table there is a button column that creates a page for the gap. The page is a duplication of the “Template Page - Gap” -page and it contains views of the Meetings table and the Action items table, which can be filtered to show only info for the specific gap.
Meetings - Optional. This table allows the creation of meetings for a specific gap, with columns for the topic, goals, agenda and minutes of the meeting. These details can be emailed to the attendees before and after the meeting, depending on how the mail button is set up.
Action items - In this table all actions related to a gap is recorded, including a deadline date, a responsible person and a status.
Due to the nature of Coda, it is extremely easy to add functionality to the doc.
Issue List - An integrated(!) issue list can be created by adding an “Issue” column to the Action Item list. This column then can have, say, the following characteristics: “Project Lead”, “Finance Business Lead”, “Sales Business Lead”. Each of these leaders will then have their views with the issues requesting their attention.
Next, add a priority and severity column, to prioritise.
Next, add raise date and expected resolution date
Next, integrate using the Gmail and calendar packs to send notifications and schedule meetings.
Next use the Zoom app, and the many different meeting templates in Coda to improve the efficiency of your meetings.
The thing to notice here is how easy it is to enhance a Coda doc.
This document is aimed at anybody that needs to collect information about some topics, and make that information available in the future.