Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I have a fool-proof method for keeping on top of things and not wasting time.

It is called WhatFAQ .

A WhatFAQ document is assigned to every project under my control or on which I am working. For every end-user application I write, there is a WhatFAQ; for every developer utility I build, there is a WhatFAQ; for every client project, there is a WhatFAQ.

WhatFAQ grew from three separate documents. About fifteen years ago I built three documents for a project: “What’s New?”, “What’s a Problem?”, and “Frequently Asked Questions”.

That meant I maintained three extra documents on top of any user requirements (Specifications, User guide etc.)

My three documents existed as Microsoft Word documents WhatNew.doc, WhatProb.doc and WhatFAQ.doc, and it made sense to merge them into one document, nowadays known as WhatFAQ.doc

How Does it Work?

Quite simply, when I have a thought about a project, when an idea strikes me, when a client expresses an opinion or a suggestion, or finds a problem with my work, I make an entry in the WhatFAQ.

The idea will not be forgotten, but I don’t need to break off from what I’m doing and lose my focus. I’m not dancing with fifteen partners each day.

The process is semi-automatic. I can paste ideas from emails. Every item receives an identification number that is unique to my computer system.

The WhatFAQ can be sorted (again automatically) so that the most-recently-fixed items appear at the top of the document and the still-to-be-addressed appear at the bottom in date sequence.

Project members can sort and filter by their initials to see what I’ve done about their pet peeves.

The best part for me is that I learned back in the seventies “Never make a promise or a threat you’re not prepared to keep”, and my WhatFAQ helps me to remember every item that’s ever come up for discussion.

The second-best part is that, from time to time, the client asks “Is there anything else we need to do?”, and I have a list of potentially billable items to hand.

Here is a link to an article that captured my interest: Action Steps

You can download a copy of WhatFAQ right now!

Talk to Me !

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