Though I read »Getting things done« by David Allen a couple of years ago, I never consistently used it. I was just comfortable with the tools I was used to, including notebooks.
Since I left my long time employer recently to start working as an “agile consultant”, things have changed. Though I’m still using plain old school paper, an Android powered handset became one of the most important tools (which can be read as »single point of failure«) to organise my activities.
Simple note taking applications, wich I used until now, just leave too much »noise« on the screen which does not fit the current context one is currently working on. As a consequence, I remembered David’s book. I started to search for a simple GTD application and stumbled upon several comparison lists like this one.
Astrid Tasks & To-do List seems to be pretty popular and syncs its data with astrid.com or even Remember the Milk, though there seem to be some known issues. Since I was interested in a sync service I can control myself, I put it on the MaybeLater :) stack.
The next application that gained my interest was Shuffle. Though Andy Bryant seems to have retired concerning new features, I liked what it has to offer. The source code is publicly available, it’s features are limited to what you really need (e.g. no yagni), the user interface is kept tidy, and it provides sync with a Tracks server (see below). Additionally it provides a desktop widget which can display a configurable data set.
After the installation, Shuffle offers to create some example data. I didn’t use it but started to fill it with own content.
I’ll see during the next couple of days whether it will serve me well.
When reading Allen’s book I also experimented with Ruby on Rails. I remember I also played with Tracks, an RoR GTD application meanwhile hosted on Github. I tried the BitNami installer, but got some ASCII vs. Unicode error after logging in. Admittedly I was too lazy to debug the issue (I guess it came from the german locale present on my Mac OS X 10.7.5 machine). Instead of setting up my own server, I (ab)used one of the ready to use installations, namely tracks.smajn.net. Thanks for the great service, BTW.
A test sync with Shuffle worked immediately:
I’m pretty curious whether the sync with a privately set up Tracks server will show some quirks during daily use. Due to the fact that the source code is available, I’ll hopefully be able to write a patch by myself in case such issues occur.
None so far :) . I’ll first check whether Shuffle will serve me well as a standalone application. If so, I’ll set up a Tracks server on one of my machines so that I can sync my data with it. The main purpose is that it is a bit cumbersome to enter text with the on screen keyboard of a handset device. In case the sync works, one could keep the entries done on the phone brief and edit them as soon as a computer with an internet connection is available. Last but not least, I’m curious whether this combo can serve as an impediment backlog of a Scrum Master :) .