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I want, for example, to develop a game in Unit3d as my "pet project".

I have zero knowledgment of Unity, so I don't know if my game will take days, weeks, months or years to finish.

I thought about breaking up the project into parts, but I don't know what those "parts" should be! :/

I want to start the project now. How do I use GTD/Pomodoro to track this?

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+1 for quite interesting question. – Md. Mahbubur R. Aaman Apr 10 '13 at 11:38
up vote 12 down vote accepted

First of all; GTD, Pomodoro and planning are 3 different things!

GTD is basically a method to keep track of all your activities so you don't forget anything. From a GTD perspective all you need to do right now is to add the first step of your project to your to-do list (for example, go to the bookstore to buy a book on Unit3d). If you finish that activity, write down the next step on your to-do list. For more info on GTD see this post

Pomodoro is a time tracking method that tries to keep you from being distracted. Once you start working on your project, you start a timer and if you work for 25 minutes without doing something not-related to your project, then you get 1 pomodoro. If you log your pomodoros, you can look back and see how much time certain tasks will take. For more info on pomodoro see this PDF and for using GTD and Pomodoro at the same time see this post

To plan your project you can basically do two things:

  1. Reserve specific blocks of time to work on your project. For example, every thursday evening from 7pm to 10pm you commit yourself to work on your project. You won't know when you will be finished, but you know that you'll be making progress every week.

  2. Make up your own deadlines. Eventhough you can't create a long-term planning, you can make a short-term planning. Try to divide the first phase of your project in small blocks and try to set deadlines for those blocks. For example

    • step 1. Go to bookstore to buy book on unit3d -> 1 hour
    • step 2. Skim the book for most essential parts to learn -> 15 minutes
    • step 3. Read most essential bookparts -> 4 hours
    • step 4. Setup programming environment -> 45 minutes
    • step 5. Get acquainted with IDE -> 2 hours

The steps that are further away in the future are most likely the ones that are currently most difficult to plan, so don't plan to far ahead and revise your planning regularly.

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Overall a good answer I agree with. There is a project planning phase to GTD, the Natural Planning Model. See… for more information about it. – Dennis S. Apr 2 '13 at 13:38
+1 for Nice Answer. Specially for "Reserve specific blocks of time to work on your project." – Md. Mahbubur R. Aaman Apr 10 '13 at 11:38

Product development teams need to embrace the fact that unexpected things will happen along the course of their projects. It is simply very difficult to set and enforce strict deadlines due to the inherent complexity. If you do, for instance due to external constraints, you need to either dump part of the project, compromize its quality or quickly get more resources when you run into difficulties.

You can have the ambition to deliver on a specified date. Plan your project accordingly, i.e. take on a realistic amount of work. Essentially, break up the project into well-defined chunks (with estimated required work) and refine/replace them as you work and learn more about the problem you're solving. So if you don't know Unity, set up a backlog item called "Get an understanding of Unity".

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This question would probably better suited for the Project Management Stack.

As was stated GTD is a methodology for processing and gather your to-do items.

In the context of a software development project, what you are trying to create is a backlog of items to be completed, which are related to the overall product. A project, in Project Management terms, must have a defined beginning and end; therefore, if the "project" doesn't actually have a deadline, you are not actually working on a project - by definition. But, you can still work on the product - most likely using something like a Lean Software development approach.

Capture all the ideas you have. Review the ideas. Prioritize the ideas so you work on the most valuable items first (how you determine value will be based on your individual product). For example, you may have an item that say, "create storyline" - can't have a game without a most cases. You may have another that says, create character models...and so on. All of these items are essentially marked with an "as soon as possible" due date. Then, just work on each item as you have time - constantly adding to your backlog as new ideas come to you; or, new things to consider come up.

In conclusion, it is totally possible to work on a "project" as defined in GTD terms (related to-do items with a defined goal/objective); however, in Project Management terms, it is not a project. A standard software development methodology for such an effort is Lean Software Development and/or Kanban setup.

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