Using Google Wave for GTD, Scrums and Project Management
I was very skeptical when Google Wave was announced over a year ago. I signed up for the beta, started a few waves then went on to ignore it for the next year. When Google announced it was to be bundled into Google Apps with single sign on, I decided to give it another try and invited some co-workers into the water with me.
We have not worked the same since.
The email traffic at Arkus has gone down tremendously as we move from sending emails to "just throwing it in a wave." While we are constantly coming up with new ways to use Google Wave, here are some that have taken hold so far.
We are an agile methodology shop, but not geographically close, so stand up meetings in the morning don't work that well. Instead we have a weekly scrum wave that we put our "big rock" tasks. Each task gets a time value and crossed out when complete. We start off each Monday with a new weekly wave, add to it in a bulleted list every day commenting and updating as the real work gets done.
Agenda & Meeting Notes
If meetings are the plague of corporate productivity, agendas are part of the cure. A good clear cut agenda, sent out before the meeting and stuck to during the meeting can keep things on track, on time and with clear roles. During the meeting we add followups and action items to the wave. Again, a simple bulleted list does most of the work. During meetings and conference calls we use a wave to capture all notes and the real-time nature of Google Wave shines as we track what notes others are writing. I can gently remind a co-worker of something to cover on the call by just adding it to the wave, like instant messenger they see it and can react.
While corporate goals can form the start of a dictatorship we use them as a way to drive forward on what we want to accomplish. Yearly goals are looked at monthly to come up with monthly goals which we break down into categories of opportunities, projects, marketing and business. Before starting off a weekly scrum wave we go over the monthly goals and see what next action we can take to push those bigger projects along. We don't always get there, but setting our sights on the end helps us focus from day to day. There is nothing better than crossing off a big goal during the month and letting everyone else in the wave know it is done.
A new wave is started for every client project. Notes, agendas, screenshots and comments all go into the wave as the project continues. Links to other project tracking tools as well as action items get recorded in the wave and checked off when complete. When we have action items in one wave for a project, we link to that wave from our weekly scrum wave to keep everything in context as we work through tasks.
Google Wave has really changed a lot of the way we work, coordinate and collaborate on a day to day basis. This blog post was first started on a wave, sent out for invitation and commented on all before being posted to the website.
We also cover this type of stuff on our new weekly podcast entitled CloudFocus.