"Keep an eye on" list?
I've been developing my own implementation of the GTD system for a couple years now, and while I'm pretty good with actions, contexts, and dealing with email, I have yet to find a good way to keep track of projects. While I may ask about that bigger picture issue in a follow-up post, first a more specific question.
I'm a director of a 12 person team which has pretty wide ranging responsibilities. Frequently a "project" will come up that I'm not even involved with but, because of my job position, it's my responsibility to make sure that I know what's going on. That is, something can come to a team-member's attention, I'm cc'ed on the email, I trust that that team member can handle it (basically, it's pre-delegated), I have no actual action items related to it (not even to follow-up, since there's a 90% chance it will be fine). BUT, I need to be aware of it, in case something goes wrong.
I guess these kinds of things could be considered project, but I hate the idea of having a bunch of projects with no "next actions". Is there anyone else in a similar role? How do you handle these?
I coached a senior exec once who had a "Monitor" list for projects and issues that his direct reports were working on. So yes, it can work.
If these areas do not have actions associated with them, they may work well either in your Tickler or Calendar. It is appropriate for a Calendar because it is information you want to know during a given time. To distinguish them from hard appointments or day-specifics, I put these reminders in parentheses.
(shelves in storage area cleaned?)
(progress on Acme contract redraft?)
(contacted Karen lately?)
I took the idea from the GTD Fast seminar.
I have a similar situation with projects that I've conceptualized/created but that are totally or largely being run by someone else in my lab. The solution I developed is to segregate those projects at the end of my projects list (in my system I put 'Z--' in front of such projects so that when I'm viewing the list alphabetically they appear at the end) and tag them with the name of the primary person responsible.
I like this system for a few reasons: 1) it keeps the project in consciousness -- you see the project every time you do a weekly review and review your projects list and thus can check in with the person responsible as necessary; 2) it solves the "no next action" problem you describe -- I just agree with myself that it is okay to not have a next action on the project because I know someone else does; 3) it prevents having to create an ad hoc project label when something comes up where you do suddenly have a next action related to the project (e.g., needing to review someone else's work; having a piece that requires your expertise).