How I use Roam Research to track my venture capital projects

Projects were the last part of my work operating system to be solved.

I tracked companies, pitches, dates and hundreds of tasks, but I hadn’t found a way to collect all this into project objectives.

Projects are collections of tasks that happen within a specific period and are bound by a clear objective. e.g. ‘Invest in Company X’ or ‘Hire Associate’.

I use Roam Research for tracking these. Read my earlier primers here if you don’t know what Roam is.

My projects were horrible open loops.

Not capturing projects meant that they stayed as an ‘open loop’ in my mind that I needed to keep spinning manually. When I finally set up projects in Roam earlier this year, I was horrified to see 22 open projects that had been clogging my mind while I tried to keep the plates spinning. Now I have all the information when I need it, and my mind is otherwise clear.

Here’s how I run my projects in Roam.

You will need Smartblocks and Query Builder extensions installed from RoamJS.

#1: Initialise a project quickly

First, I need to initialise a new project quickly. In my Daily Notes Page, as I am logging a work session, there comes a moment when I take on a project. I have a Smartblock for quickly initialising a project.

- #42SmartBlock Project Init
- [[<%INPUT:Name of Project?%>]] Init: <%INPUT:Which company is involved?{page}%> <%INPUT:Which person is involved?{page}%> <%INPUT:Which challenge or area is involved?{page}%> [[Projects]] #active

This prompts me for the new project’s name and associates it with related companies, people, and challenges.

#2: Setup the project page

When I have initialised the project, I click on the new page and run another Smartblock to capture metadata and build the lists I check each day.

- #42SmartBlock Project Setup
- [[Projects]]
- ## Meta
- Owner/Driver:
- Due Date:
- Completed Date:
- Tags:
- Status:
- Related Goals:
- Success Criteria:
- [[Portfolio Companies]]
- {{[[query]]: {and:[[TODO]] [[<%CURRENTPAGENAME%>]] {not:[[DONE]]}}}}
- Alias
- Open Tasks
- {{[[query]]: {and:[[<%CURRENTPAGENAME%>]] {or:[[todiscuss]] [[Things to discuss]]}}}}
- Alias
- To discuss at next meeting

The queries list open tasks and topics that need to be discussed at the next team meeting for the project. As items come into my [[Inbox]] each day, I process them by adding tags and links to the [[Project name]] and #todiscuss.

When I am working on this project, everything I need is here.

#3: Create a [[Projects]] page and query active projects

I have a page that captures all the projects I keep as a Shortcut in the left sidebar. I use a query to show active projects.

{{[[query]]: {and:[[Projects]] [[active]] {not:[[<%INPUT:Name of Project?%>]]}}}}

When a project is complete, I remove the #active tag, and it is gone from my attention.

#4: Check-in each day

I have check-ins to these pages each day to keep them all moving along. I have a prompt in my mourning routine to send me there.

If you need help, ask me on Twitter — @philmorle

I am also happy to share markdown files of my templates if you DM me.

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Read this post and more on my Typeshare Social Blog




Deep tech VC — Main Sequence Ventures. Ecosystem builder. Maker. Director. Startup Scientist.

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Phil Morle

Phil Morle

Deep tech VC — Main Sequence Ventures. Ecosystem builder. Maker. Director. Startup Scientist.

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