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Originally Posted by laura View Post
I'm amazed that this debate still goes on a year later now. I thought I'd check in and wow.

Efficiency is getting a lot of things done.
Effectiveness is doing the right things.

When I work in a reality where every day I have too many things to do, I am not going to be very effective by employing silly tactics like doing all the easy, short things first. Fear of prioritization is odd to me. It seems it's better to have a plan that you can change than go have no plan at all.

I need prioritization. I fake it with the blank column that I have in the right-hand side of OF -- which I think might be a remnant from an early alpha release -- which has a 10-digit number for every single entry. I can change the number and sort by that column, and there, I can at least fake having an effective task management system.

I wonder how much of the back and forth in this thread is simply because it doesn't take much time to reply, so it ends up at the top of many GTD lists. Not important, but certainly easy and quick, right? ;)
What do you envision a prioritization scheme giving you that you don't already have? It seems to me that you've already got some tools you can use for this, even if we don't include your mysterious 10-digit number column. You've got the binary flag - flag individual actions or flag whole projects, and you can easily spot those actions in the scrum when looking for the next action to do. There's also that time estimate field, which could be used much like your 10-digit number (and unlike your 10-digit number, can be filtered by perspectives) if you don't need to filter or sort on duration. You could still keep notes on duration in the notes field.

I'm curious how you manage your prioritization scheme. How often do you update priorities? How many priority levels do you find you need? Do the top-priority items at any given time tend to be the next actions from a bunch of different projects, or a large number of sequential actions from a small number of projects? Do you want to completely block lower-priority actions from sight until all of the higher-priority actions have been handled?

I'm a little mystified by multiple-priority systems, because back in the days when I had to prioritize what I worked on from the pile of way too much stuff, it was pretty much impossible to get agreement from all the affected parties on what was really the highest priority, and my binary prioritization scheme worked well. Everything was classified into two states: "this needs to be done yesterday or the world will come to an end", and "this needs to be done yesterday or the world will come to an end (or so you would have me believe, but I know you're full of it)". Generally, the only clue the requester had as to which priority it was assigned was whether or not it ever got done :-)

How often do you get all the high priority stuff cleared out such that you can work on low priority stuff? It just seems to me that if one only works on high priority items and has a continual influx of new tasks, anything more than a level or two down in the hierarchy should really be assigned to some other person, unless the priorities are always being shuffled.

Looking back over the last 1/3 of this discussion thread, my impression is that there are people asking for a priority system, but not making it clear to me as an interested bystander what the essential core of that which they want is. Frankly, if you've got X requests for an ill-defined feature, and about X-3 ideas of what it should look like, there will be a lot of unhappy people unless the designer is really, really good and can come up with the core idea that makes everyone happy...either it will get done in a fashion that best suits the designer, or not at all...