Not sure where to start with semi-large business with many projects

I’m afraid this post is similar to a few others, but different enough for me to need to post it!

I’m in charge of, let’s say a medium sized company. It’s actually part of a larger company, but runs relatively autonomously within it. We employ around 20-30 people part-time and work in education. We go into primary schools, secondary schools, after schools, youth projects, all over. We have multiple programmes running in multiple schools, some short term and some long term.

I setup my file folder system by year, then essentially have a big list of projects, and then some other categories like finance, partner organisations, social media, press, contracts, HR and so on. It’s a mess and I’d love a system to tidy it up, and have my obsidian related to it also.

But… If I go for different types of programmes as areas and use after school projects (categories) as an example, I will run out of folders for my After School Programmes too quickly. But I don’t want to lump them all into one folder, that wouldn’t work either. So I could probably get things into 10 buckets (areas), but I’m right (aren’t I?) in thinking that after areas, we aren’t allowed anymore folders in the JD system. (From 11.01 on the website, no folders within the system). So while the system allows for 100*10 folders…

Ooooh hang on. I just got it. It’s not what I’ve pasted below:

11-19 Primary School Programmes
20-29 Secondary School Programmes
30-39 After School Programmes
31 ASP Location 1
32 ASP Location 2
33 ASP Location 3
34 Another Programme
35 We will have more than ten Afterschool programmes!

It’s this (actually it’s not this either):
11-19 Primary School Programmes
20-29 Secondary School Programmes
30-39 After School Programmes
30.01 to 30.99 ASP Location 1
31.01 to 31.99 ASP Location 2
32.01 to 32.99 ASP Location 3

Which still gives me only ten ASP projects, so I could go:
11-19 Primary School Programmes
20-29 Secondary School Programmes
30-39 After School Programmes
30.01 ASP Location 1
30.02 ASP Location 2
30.03 ASP Location 3

Giving me 99 After School Programmes to play with.
Although that has its own issues. Within ASP Location 1, I have timetables, schedules, social media, resources… I’ll need to think about it.

So perhaps I need to find a way to divide my areas a little better, like types of after school programmes?

Am I beginning to find my way here? I’m unsure whether I should post this, this is essentially me thinking through the problem, I perhaps should just have done it in obsidian! However, if anyone has any thoughts, I’d love to hear them, or delete the post is completely understandable and fine as well!

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Hi Damian!

You need multiple projects [13.01] of some form. I’m sorry, that page should be more obvious on the site — later today I’ll add a link to it from one of the earlier pages.

Basically that gives you an extra ‘level’ at the start. Have a look through that and see if that fixes your issue. If not, come back here and we’ll help out!

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Thanks for replying, and so quickly as well, and good luck with your new venture. I came across JD via your Omnifocus podcast appearance by the way, and the mention that came a few weeks earlier I believe also.

I had read [13.01], but wasn’t sure how to implement it, but I think perhaps for me a good solution would be a ‘Projects’ Project, then another ‘General’ Project that deals with everything else business orientated. That should keep things simple enough for thinking but still give me the depth I need so I don’t run out of space for the very multi-faceted nature of this business.

Thanks, sometimes when you start out it’s great just to get a little nudge in the right direction. I look forward to checking in some more on the forum and website as I explore the system.


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One of the things I’ll be adding to the site sooner rather than later is a bunch of ‘recipes’ for multiple projects. Examples, demos, whatever you might call them.

Hopefully that’ll help, I think when people see other/similar examples it’s much easier to adapt those to their needs vs. starting with a blank page.


Yes! This would be useful. I can’t help thinking that I’m looking at this obliquely.

I’m working in a large software org project with multiple teams and efforts. What I currently think would be useful are these tenets (where view below is undefined; maybe a 3-code project or a category)

  • Each of a dozen services gets its own view for documentation etc. so it is easy to hand the service to a new team.
  • Each team gets its own view for planning and status tracking, and service ownership
  • The org is a rollup of the views of its teams, perhaps with its own cross-team planning and efforts thrown in.

My concern is with dual hierarchies between the org and team levels. That is, it makes sense for the following hierarchy at both levels, but I don’t know how to filter/merge them (depending on which level you’re operating at).

  • 40-49 Service Design and coordination
    • (Note: Per-service ownership often change teams as teams grow and change tenets.)
    • 41 Service documentation
    • 42 Design documents
  • 50-59 Planning & Status
    • 51 Roadmaps
    • 52 Yearly Planning
    • 53 Project Planning
    • 54 Quarterly Status
    • 55 Bi-weekly Status
  • 60-69 Major Efforts and Campaigns
    • 61 Operations and Reduction
    • 62 Major Campaign Xyzzy
    • 62 Major Campaign Move-To-Zazzerfraz

In terms of organization, maybe a team is a long-lived major campaign. Both have planning and coordination, designs, and a set services that they affect.


Instead of derailing the OPs question, which I am still interested in, I have put my first attempt (nth draft) here: A setup for a large software org.

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