I thought it might be good to discuss how a single person prioritizes/schedules/etc. all the tasks involved in bootstrapping a company. Without a system, it is easy to let the important but boring or hard tasks get displaced by the interesting and fun ones. It can also mean that important tasks just get forgotten.
Is anyone using Getting Things Done for this? How do you use it?
I can write a bit about Scrum:
While often used for programming, Scrum is ultimately a way to prioritize and schedule tasks. Of particular value is the Scrum version of a backlog. In Scrum, it is a single list of ‘things to be done’ kept in strict priority order. As new marketing tasks, bugs, feature requests, etc. are discovered, they are added to the backlog at their priority, which may necessarily change the priority of other items. The backlog can be reviewed as needed to change priorities or cull items no longer relevant. It’s good discipline to always add items to the backlog before working on them and it helps make sure that the highest priority items get worked on, not the newest, easiest, or most interesting. Items high in priority need to be fleshed out with an estimate and enough information about the task so that they can be taken from the backlog and worked on without lots of additional research to define what to do.
Work is done in iterations (also called sprints), usually 1-4 weeks in duration (1 week seems to make the most sense for people doing Scrum on their own). Items are taken from the backlog and put into the iteration until there is no more estimated time left in the iteration. Tasks too big for an iteration need to be broken down further. New tasks which come up during an iteration are added to the backlog, not worked on immediately if at all possible. After an iteration, the backlog can be reviewed in light of the progress made and new tasks discovered to decide what to work on in the next iteration.
There’s more to Scrum, so here are some resources:
While focused on game development, this interview gives a good overview of how a former project manager does Scrum for one: http://www.gamedevradio.net/?p=443
I really like the book Agile Software Development with Scrum by Schwaber and Beedle. It’s old, not available electronically, and relatively expensive, but it’s short, focused and does a great job of explaining the ideas behind Scrum and why it is useful.