Getting Things Done (GTD) is a system designed to increase productivity, and it’s typically applied at the individual level (learn about it here: GTD 101). It can be very powerful and it has legions of practitioners. But what if you want to implement the principles with a team? Is there a GTD for Teams approach?

Well, recently Errette Dun (Wrike’s Productivity Coach) had the opportunity to talk with David Allen, the creator of the GTD system, and he asked David exactly that question: How can teams use GTD? We’ve broken out the key points for using GTD with your team below, and you can also see David’s explanation in the video at the bottom.

How to use Getting Things Done with a team:

1. Make sure team members understand and use GTD principles To apply GTD to a team, the individuals need to thoroughly understand and use GTD for their own work first.

David Allen told us: “You need people who possess and process and manifest these behaviors and methodologies in order to be maximally effective.”

2. Apply the same GTD principles to the team The same principles that apply to an individual can then be applied to the team. When new things come into the team’s “inbox” they shouldn’t immediately turn into a project or task. They need to be assessed and dealt with in a specific way (in many cases, explicitly deciding “no action needed now”).

Some steps for getting started with your team:

  • Understand what has the team’s attention right now.
  • Assess the things that are not on cruise control — these are the problems, opportunities, and challenges that will need to be dealt with by the team in one way or another.
  • Determine how to handle these types of items, and institute a GTD system to deal with them as they arise going forward.

3. Institute team weekly reviews Teams really need step back for reflection on a regular basis. It’s important to understand the content of the work of the team and how that’s changing over time. In the weekly meeting, you should cover:

  • What are relevant projects going on right now?
  • Which projects need to be moved to someday/maybe or parking lot?
  • How do we intersect all of these projects that we’ve decided to focus on?
  • What new events have shown up that require action from the team?

4. The team allocates output; the individuals determine next steps The main difference between a GTD approach for a team and an individual:

  • Teams don’t need to get down to next action, they need to allocate output amongst the team members.
  • The responsible individual needs to determine the next steps to handle the deliverable they have committed to deliver.

This should give you some ideas for how to use GTD with your team. See the video below for more context from David Allen himself.

Want to learn more about GTD? Check out these resources: • Learn GTD in 20 Seconds — David Allen Interview, Part 1 • How to use Wrike to implement GTD

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