This follows Starting PROSPRA in a Spreadsheet. Take a look at it to understand why I use spreadsheets for many PROSPRA projects. More importantly, see the important principles for starting a PROSPRA spreadsheet.
If you cannot see how PROSPRA will help, please let me know. I realize that it is too simple for complex projects with many inter-related tasks. For other projects, I’d love to help you manage your tasks more efficiently.
It’s best to learn by doing, so here is how to maintain PROSPRA projects in a spreadsheet.
Maintain PROSPRA in a Spreadsheet
PROSPRA, as a technique, can be implemented in many off-the-shelf task management programs, or just use pencil and paper. I like to use spreadsheets for 2 reasons:
- Flexibility – add or change columns to suit your purpose
- Filtering – focus on parts of your project that matter in the moment
Here are the spreadsheet columns and how they help you maintain a PROSPRA project.
The little blue arrows by the column headings signify that filtering is on. If you do not know about filtering in spreadsheets, please let me know and I will create a brief tutorial. You can still use PROSPRA in spreadsheets without filtering. It is particularly useful where you have many tasks.
- Log Date
- The task log date is vital for tracking when things happened. It helps some or all of:
- Prioritize during Production
- Measure Rewards (Date Done minus Log Date)
- Factual data for Appreciation
- Task Description
- Make the task description relate to Purpose, especially when new to PROSPRA
- Requirements (Optional)
- If your project has resource Restrictions, task requirements can be useful to estimate cost, time, etc
- Reference (Optional)
- Task reference is very useful for tracking multiple Objectives if they apply to your project. I usually use it for external references. Remember, the essence of PROSPRA in a spreadsheet is flexibility. Have multiple task references if you wish, or none at all.
- Due Date
- The task due date drives your Strategy
- Date Done
- Log task date done when you complete Production. Filter to show Blanks only when you want to focus on what needs to be produced.
- Received (Optional)
- If your project success relies on meeting specific targets, use task received to track hits, money, votes, kisses, or whatever Rewards are vital to fulfilling your Purpose
- Notes (Optional)
- Use task notes to record whatever is important to you.
Some columns are optional because that is the nature of PROSPRA. It must remain flexible so that you can plan, produce, and improve quickly. However, there are a few simple rules that you need to follow to maintain integrity of your project.
- You must always plan with Purpose, but your planning stage might combine Purpose with Restrictions and Objectives in a simple idea. Your Purpose might even be extremely simple. Eg: My purpose is to see what I get for $100 I’m prepared to lose.
- Strategy can start with the result of your planning stage, or develop it as you go. The key to success is constant monitoring and reappraisal so your overdue list never harms your Purpose.
- Production is always immediately after Strategy, but might combine Rewards. Managing Rewards depends entirely on the specifics of what you need to achieve. It is usually guided by your Restrictions phase, as you have to monitor whatever makes the project feasible.
- Appreciation is often forgotten. Regular review encourages you to grow this project and/or start a new one.
Manage PROSPRA in a Spreadsheet
PROSPRA is flexible within the framework of a few simple rules. However, the flexible framework must be managed.
On a daily basis, you add tasks to your list as they arise (see my introductory explanations in Starting PROSPRA in a Spreadsheet). You check-off tasks as they are completed, and make whatever day-by-day adjustments that you see fit.
The only way to understand how to maintain PROSPRA in a spreadsheet is by doing it. Start a project now, to get used to using PROSPRA. Then you will have better appreciation of the basics when I explain how to manage PROSPRA spreadsheets in the next installment.
If you need help with any aspect of maintaining your project in a spreadsheet, please ask in Shrewdies Project forum.