Tuesday, August 20, 2013

One size does not fit all

Here are some scenarios pertaining to personalizing your PIM.

Scenario: A divorced parent is creating an event in their PIM for one of their kids birthdays. When they create the event they include associated actions and events such as an email to be sent out two months ahead to check which parent is going to be throwing the party, a reminder a month ahead to make sure that both parents have the kid's "birthday list", A time to be scheduled a week or two ahead to do the shopping for the gift, and a time and checklist for the kid to write thank you notes afterwards.

After they have created that event, they can simply tell the PIM that this is a new type of event called "My Kid's Birthday" and the next time they schedule an event with that type it will include all of those associated actions and events and reminders.

Some of the follow-up videos include entering the "Birthday List" and automatically sharing it with the other family members and parents of kids who have been invited to the event. It is then visible as a checklist (somewhat like a wedding registry) that others can view and click off on.

Scenario: Someone using the PIM for the first time who is already an avid user of some methodology such as GTD (Getting Things Done) or Mission Control or Steve Covey... simply picks their choice of  methodology and their PIM is populated with the typical types used by that methodology. So a user of GTD would have types that included "Ticklers" and monthly reviews. A user of Mission Control would have the "Not Doing Now" and "Never Doing Now" lists.

And the user would still be able to add types of actions and events that are either associated with or derived from the types in the methodology.

Scenario: A teacher using the PIM had previously scheduled and taught a new course. The teacher had set up the classrooms in such a way that they included actions that automatically sent out the homework for that classroom the next day as well as a homework reminder to the students two days before each classroom reminding them that the homework was due as well as including the homework for that classroom.

The school asks the teacher to teach that course again and the teacher simply goes back into the PIM, selects all of the events from the previous course and then tells the PIM that the entire course is the new type "Really Cool Course". When the course gets scheduled the teacher goes into the PIM and  schedules a new course using the type "Really Cool Course" and substituting in the new dates. All of the actions and reminders and checklists and agendas from the previous course are included.

Scenario: A consultant makes a promise to a client to let them know when they finished some research and to set up a new time to talk when that is complete. The consultant already has a type "Research promise and follow-up" in their PIM. The consultant creates a new promise from that type and types in the subject of the research and selects the client to be notified. The consultant clicks on the promise and notes that it's complete. The PIM generates an email notifying the client that the task is complete, puts it into the email queue to be edited and then sent out. The email contains a link to the consultants favorite scheduling system (Timetrade, Doodle, etc..) that allows the client to schedule their follow-up.

In order to make these scenarios a reality the PIM needs to support

  1. The ability for users to create their own types.
  2. The ability for users to create types from existing events, tasks, and actions.
  3. The ability for types to include information that must be entered when a new instance of that type is created (such as the dates in the teacher's course, or the client used in the consultants promise)

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