Divide by Nought

Archive for the ‘Productivity’ Category

A more rigorous way to use the SCAMPER brainstorming method

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If you’re not familiar with it, SCAMPER is a brainstorming method for augmenting or “creating” new ideas, methods, etc.  The basic process is briefly described here:

How to use SCAMPER on eHow.com

This method is fine on its own and can be used without modification.  However, it can be useful to go further by redeploying the same process against its results.  In other words:

  1. Go through the basic analysis.  As you’re doing so create your list of ideas.
  2. Once you’ve complete the first pass go through the list and re-apply each of the 9 principles to each item in your list.
    1. In addition to factors outside of your list, for substitution, combination, adaptation and elimination consider whether other items on your list could be applied to the current item.
  3. Make note of any new ideas that come to mind.
  4. Repeat this process as many times as desired using the newly emerging ideas.

The point is to encourage more in-depth understanding of the ideas and generate more varied output.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Intergalactic Software publishes The Wedding Checklist

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Intergalactic Software has published a new application to the app store.  It’s great for determining what you need to do when planning a wedding.  Check it out here: The Wedding Checklist, or view it in iTunes.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Posted in Productivity, Software

Create a Dedicated SCCB User

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Creating a dedicated SCCB (Software Change Control Board) user and using it only during SCCB meetings can make history tracking easier to handle.  This is because it…

  1. Clarifies the context of the change; i.e. during an SCCB meeting.
  2. Keeps the user consistent regardless of whether the SCCB chairperson changes.
  3. Avoids confusion for the current chairperson when trying to determine who made a change, when and why; i.e. whether the given SCCB chairperson made changes during the SCCB meeting or as part of his or her “offline” work.

Of course it doesn’t tell who the chairperson was at the time.  Often that doesn’t really matter since the point of the meeting is group consent for changes; so the individual matters less.  If it does matter a field can be added to each record as to who the SCCB chair was or it can be captured in meeting minutes.  And of course only a limited number of people would have access to the account.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008 at 12:17 pm

Things vs. OmniFocus

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OmniFocus and Things are both great GTD/PIM/Productivity applications.  I’m using them both just too see which one I end up using more and then I’ll stick with the winner.  I would simply choose one, but they both have their limitations.  Omnifocus is a little too structured while Things is a little too loose and, even worse, manual. Nothing is ever perfect, but a couple small changes to either and my life would be so much easier.

OmniFocus being too structured appears to be the result of strict adherence to the GTD scheme.  As a seeming result it doesn’t offer things like deep projects (projects with sub projects that have their own sub projects…ad nauseam…).  It does have folders (aka groups), but that’s a completely different concept and requires manual organization.  That’s a big deal, manual operations take half of the value out of a task management applications.  It does, however, allow for hierarchal contexts.  This is a good thing overall, but even there it would be nice to have a little more depth.  A cross between relational organization and hierarchal organization would be super powerful.  Then again, nothing that I’m aware of offers that right now, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.

Things has projects, areas, hierarchal tags, and people.  All good things and allowing finer control over tasks than OmniFocus.  But it doesn’t allow for anything but tags to be entered (associated) during task entry.  Odd.  What this means is that project and area associations must be manually created after the task is created via a wizard like menu system.  This is the definition of kludgy and is Things biggest limitation.  Why?  Because entering new tasks needs to be very fast and shouldn’t required that I do anything else to organize them beyond that initial entry.  Unless of course I want to change something because I didn’t do something.

Finally, they’re both only available for the Mac.  I think Macs are great (more specifically OS X).  But I do have Windows machines both at work and home.  Why, oh why, must I use a Mac to have good task management software?  At a minimum a nice Ajax enabled web client is in order.

…at least they both have iPhone apps.

Despite my criticisms I do like both of these programs and think they’re better than anything available for Windows (Outlook doesn’t even come close).

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Sunday, July 13, 2008 at 3:56 pm