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-   -   Groups or teams using OmniFocus: how do we share & collaborate? (http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=16464)

phumo 2009-01-27 12:45 AM

Can you share an OmniFocus Project?
 
Hi everyone. I'm new to OmniFocus so please excuse me this is an easy thing to do.

We use OmniFocus to organise our client projects, etc. It's a dream to use.

However, we use a freelance Web Developer for some of our jobs. I'd like to be able to create an OmniFocus Project, fill it with tasks for him to do and then send him this Project so that he can use this from within his OmniFocus.

Is this possible?

I've tried some of the Export features but cannot get any of these to create me a file that I can email him. The Import feature on OmniFocus only seems to import from OmniOutliner, which we do not have.

Does anyone know how I can do the above, if at all, or if there is a better way of doing this.

If I could 'share' a Project (like I can share iCal Calendars) then that would be perfect.

Any help/assistance anyone can give will be very much appreciated.

Brian 2009-01-27 05:02 PM

OmniFocus 1.x was designed around a single-user workflow; we've discussed these sorts of scenarios for inclusion in some future version of the application, but the syncing and export both currently work on your full database.

You could theoretically create a second OmniFocus database and place it on your network someplace that you and the contractor could both access, but if he's working remotely that would be more difficult.

If that solution would work for you, just duplicate your existing database in the finder, double-click the duplicate, and then delete any actions you didn't want the contractor to see.

whpalmer4 2009-01-27 06:54 PM

[QUOTE=Brian;54310]OmniFocus 1.x was designed around a single-user workflow; we've discussed these sorts of scenarios for inclusion in some future version of the application, but the syncing and export both currently work on your full database.[/QUOTE]

One thing that is a bit odd (and I've reported it) is that the documentation claims that the File->Export command will only export the data in view. That's true for many of the output options, but the ones that export to OmniFocus file types all do the whole database for some reason.

A heads-up for the original poster: you can do as Brian suggests, whittling down a file to just the part(s) you need and sending it to your contractor. However, when they open the file and copy the project into their database, if the context names match existing context names, duplicates will be created. This isn't too hard to fix up if you know that it happens, but it's confusing if you don't realize it has happened and you're looking at one of the duplicated contexts wondering where the other actions you know should be there are! [URL="http://forums.omnigroup.com/showpost.php?p=49492&postcount=6"]Here[/URL]'s a post describing the process (and fix).

optimus prime minister 2009-05-19 07:13 AM

You could always use Spootnik ($3/mo - [url]http://www.spootnik.net/[/url]) to sync to a Basecamp project, and then have the Web Developer use the Basecamp project (or OF with his own Spootnik account.) I've used Spootnik a bit with a free Basecamp account, and it works pretty well!

policarpo 2010-06-12 11:42 PM

Groups or teams using OmniFocus: how do we share & collaborate?
 
Hello:

I've been on this quest for a desktop based GTD system that will allow our team to collaborate and share/delegate tasks with one another. Does anyone have any real world working knowledge of this? Our 2.5 week OmniFocus test failed once our database got too big...we were stepping on each others edits when working on the same stuff.

So far the only app which seems to do this from a desktop perspective is Daylite, but I found the UI and UX too much like work.

Please note: I know there are online services which give me these capabilities, but due to confidentiality, we cannot keep data on a remote and unmanaged server.

Many thanks on advance for any insight.

Cheers,
policarpo

jasong 2010-06-13 11:03 AM

A few folks have tried this with varying success. Omnifocus us not a multiuser app so you're bound to encounter issues.

What are you trying to do that a multiuser gtd app solves? Gtd has always seemed personal. Bug trackers, or similar issues databases are more multiuser by design.

policarpo 2010-06-13 11:22 AM

[QUOTE=jasong;78534]A few folks have tried this with varying success. Omnifocus us not a multiuser app so you're bound to encounter issues.

What are you trying to do that a multiuser gtd app solves? Gtd has always seemed personal. Bug trackers, or similar issues databases are more multiuser by design.[/QUOTE]

Essentially this is what I am trying to do:

. Delegate tasks to teammates
. Have them receive Tasks
. Have them update status of Task
- notes, attachments, etc
. Complete Task and check it off as complete
. Have entire team aware of open Tasks via OmniFocus

What I am asking for is nothing different than what you can currently do in Toodledo ([url]http://www.toodledo.com/info/sharing.php[/url]) But like I said, I can't use web based tools due to confidentiality.

I have a crude workaround using BusyCal and LAN published calendars, but I don't find it as feature rich as I would like it. I am hoping for the Collaboration features in Toodledo in OmniFocus. :)

Thanks,
-policarpo

curt.clifton 2010-06-13 11:49 AM

Omni has been pretty clear about OF being a personal task management tool. As far as I've heard, the only plans for collaboration are via interaction with OmniPlan, and that's been pushed back by the introduction of the iPad. You might be able to hack something together, but it seems like it will be fragile. Fragility is the last thing you want in a task management system.

Be sure to use Help --> Send Feedback to communicate feature requests to Omni. While the architecture doesn't seem likely to support full-blown multi-user database sharing, it seems like it might be possible to implement sending actions to others and (crucially) checking off actions in others' databases.

Imagine being able to run a delegate command that sends an action via email to another OF user. They receive it and run the Clip-o-tron to add the task to their database, along with metadata that associates the task with the your original one. Meanwhile, your task would be somehow marked as delegated. After some time, the receiver completes the task and checks it off. This could automatically trigger a reply email to you indicating that the task is done. The Clip-o-tron on your side would process this email and mark the delegated task complete in your database. That would nicely handle the delegation piece.

Since you're clearly willing to tinker, you might think about setting up your own server running collaborative ticket tracking software. There are a variety of open source solutions available. Said another way, rather than looking for personal task management software that handles collaboration, you might have better luck looking for collaborative project management software that handles personal tasks.

Lucas 2010-06-13 12:03 PM

Another idea might be to just let people keep their individual databases, but maybe automate the process of sending a daily or weekly status update (say, in the form of a PDF or HTML file) from each worker.

One thing that I would guess to be a disadvantage of assigning tasks like you describe, as I tried to say before, is that different people have different ways of arranging their work. What might be one task for you might be five for someone else, perhaps in the same task group and maybe spread over multiple task groups. Or maybe the task that you assign gets folded into a larger group. It seems to me that its ongoing status at that point starts to lose meaning. Does that make sense? So when a task gets completed, and then that automatically checks off some supervisor's corresponding task, that task being completed might mean different things. I know that you're thinking a lot about this problem, but it seems to me here that the perfect might be the enemy of the good. Just something to consider!

policarpo 2010-06-13 12:11 PM

Yep.

I've submitted feature requests and have been mapping out various solutions in another thread. I wanted to focus this thread on other peoples possible solutions.

The feature exploration thread:
[url]http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=16348&page=2[/url]

henry 2010-06-13 04:23 PM

[QUOTE=policarpo;78538]Essentially this is what I am trying to do:

. Delegate tasks to teammates
. Have them receive Tasks
. Have them update status of Task
- notes, attachments, etc
. Complete Task and check it off as complete
. Have entire team aware of open Tasks via OmniFocus
[/QUOTE]

As I said in the other thread the best way to do this at the moment is to use a server application to master your tasks and then sync OF with that if required.

Something like Trac ([url]http://trac.edgewall.org/[/url]) or RedMine ([url]http://www.redmine.org/[/url]) etc. will do everything in your above list and then you can use an AppleScript running locally to pull and push tasks to OF. There are scripts on the web that do this already. Sure it's not ideal but it would be fairly simple to set up.

I've just noticed OF doesn't have a Scripts menu. That might be a good feature request. If you could run scripts from inside OF, that would make this sort of thing a lot nicer.

policarpo 2010-06-13 04:38 PM

Thanks for the links to those. I'll give them a review.

I think for the time being until or if we get some sort of collaboration features in OmniFocus, I'll just keep using the BusyCal route of pushing ToDo's out to my team.

We should have the static IP with iCal Server running mid next week, so I am hoping this will work and remove the added layer of BusyCal from our workflow.

Thanks,
-policarpo

policarpo 2010-06-13 05:00 PM

Actually, I spoke to soon regarding the BusyCal route.

Seems like a bag of hurt when syncing to iCal.

I am getting all sorts of errors when writing to and from the Shared Calendars.

I submitted a bug to the ninjas, so hopefully they'll let me know what I'm doing incorrectly.

Ugggg....HA!

Sorry for any confusion, i've been working with Things and OmniFocus on using this particular workflow with my team (I have encountered no weird read write issues with Things so far). I thought I had it working with OF, but it no longer seems to be working. Grrrr....

Thanks,
-policarpo

curt.clifton 2010-06-14 01:10 PM

[QUOTE=henry;78561]
I've just noticed OF doesn't have a Scripts menu. That might be a good feature request. If you could run scripts from inside OF, that would make this sort of thing a lot nicer.[/QUOTE]

Most new Mac OS X apps don't have their own scripts menu. The intent is that apps use the shared, system-wide script menu. Use /Application/Utilities/AppleScript Editor to turn on the system-wide script menu. There's a checkbox inside the Editor's general preferences to turn on the menu.

OF also lets you put scripts in its toolbar. In fact, there's [URL="http://forums.omnigroup.com/forumdisplay.php?f=44"]a whole section of the forum[/URL] dedicated to scripting OF.

curt.clifton 2010-06-14 01:17 PM

[QUOTE=policarpo;78564]Actually, I spoke to soon regarding the BusyCal route.

Seems like a bag of hurt when syncing to iCal.

I am getting all sorts of errors when writing to and from the Shared Calendars.

I submitted a bug to the ninjas, so hopefully they'll let me know what I'm doing incorrectly.

Ugggg....HA!

Sorry for any confusion, i've been working with Things and OmniFocus on using this particular workflow with my team (I have encountered no weird read write issues with Things so far). I thought I had it working with OF, but it no longer seems to be working. Grrrr....[/QUOTE]

This is what I meant by this approach being fragile. It might appear to work but then fail without warning. Since Omni isn't focused on collaboration features, it's extremely unlikely that they will have tested iCal syncing with shared calendars, or even considered the detailed implications of that.

I don't mean to be discouraging. It's just that after working several years as a systems integrator, my fragility alarm is going off like crazy. I think you might be happier in the long run—and invest less time—by pursuing software built for the task at hand.

policarpo 2010-06-14 02:15 PM

Yep. That's kind of the feeling I'm getting after having hit it hard in sandbox testing the past few days. I've been testing it against Things with the same setup and so far I haven't encountered any odd behavior from Things (Usability issues of the app aside of course).

GeoffAirey 2010-11-05 05:50 AM

Omnifocus for Groups
 
Just a quick post to raise a question.

several of us in the company I work for are now GTDers with iPhones.

I'm using OF and others are using different methods.

Are there any plans to make OF a Group product where changes can be sync'd between parties? Can it be done with a single database with 20 Devices syncing regularly or will this cause problems? I'd also like to keep private and business stuff separate.

Brian 2010-11-05 02:15 PM

Moving this post to an existing thread on the subject of OmniFocus for teams, and adding "Group" to the title of that thread to make it more likely to turn up in searches.

RossA 2011-09-22 08:16 AM

Shared Projects
 
In my new role I have a need for sharing projects out between different members of my team. - similar to what 'flow' is meant to be on the iphone. Is this something coming in future versions of Omnifocus?

Having played with asana.com this caters for my needs, but I've used Omnifocus for a long time now and love the power of the software.

Thanks

Andrew

Brian 2011-09-23 02:46 PM

Welcome to the forums, Andrew! Going to move your post into an existing thread which should be helpful. (Responding in the original thread before moving it in order to trigger any notifications you signed up for.)

pjb 2011-09-29 03:45 AM

[QUOTE=Lucas;78548]...that different people have different ways of arranging their work...[/QUOTE] I think is key; better to send a formatted email to someone which their Clip-o-tron will import into their Inbox for review/placement and give yourself a task to check up on their progress. Even when OP has OF-like lists, a sub would still likely check off their own OF task and then go check off the shared OP task to communicate back to the group.

ksnyde 2011-09-30 12:22 PM

the iPad's send to email on OSX?
 
I find the export to email of a task, project, or set of projects very well done on the iPad application and can't understand why this wouldn't be available in the OSX version. Does anyone know if there any plans to move this functionality over?

Ken

p.s. I sat there for 30 minutes staring at the OSX version trying to remember how to export to email before realising it was only on the iPad ... errr.

whpalmer4 2011-09-30 01:14 PM

Omni tends to work on the apps in round-robin fashion — a feature might appear first on the iPad or Mac, then on the iPhone, then on the remaining platform. Forecast view showed up first on iPad, then iPhone, and now is coming to Mac. Emailing tasks is another that first appeared on the iPad, but I'm confident they see the utility of having that functionality on the Mac, too. Use Help->Send Feedback to send in your feature requests; more requests lead to more attention from the development teams.

At one point shortly after the iPad version came out, I started drafting an Applescript that would provide similar functionality on the Mac, but it wasn't a priority as I've usually got the iPad when I'm at the Mac. Maybe when I get some time I'll finish it and post it.

GoodOak 2012-03-03 08:05 PM

any advancement on this front?
 
Has any progress in collaborating with Omnifocus been made since the last post 4 months ago? I have DLed OF because I [I]need[/I] to be able to collaborate, and you can't do this with the software I have been using, Things. Honestly I'm a bit overwhelmed by the complexity and rigidity of OF, but if I can sync one to do list among multiple users on multiple computers, I'm game for putting a little more work in up-front for a smother workflow.

I have installed the software (trial) on my computer and one staff members computer and using Bonjour it seems to be syncing flawlessly. Am I missing something?

Brian 2012-03-05 05:33 PM

Multi-person syncing is something we want to support down the line, but it's a complex feature. We haven't tackled it yet.

If everyone is in the same physical location and the groups aren't large, using Bonjour sync in the manner you're attempting can work. As more folks start to use the apps simultaneously, though, the chances of two people simultaneously editing the same thing at the same time goes up. When that happens, you see stuff like Policarpo mentioned in [URL="http://forums.omnigroup.com/showpost.php?p=78510&postcount=5"]post #5[/URL]. That's what folks mean when they say it's possible but not designed for it.

If you get this working for your team, that's great, though!

mfcboy 2012-04-27 12:08 PM

another vote for requesting collaboration feature on OF
 
Hey, To whom it may concern,

As a fair new user of OF, comparing to other tools I have used before, I have seen the trend is "COLLABORATION", even the majority of users are intent to use OF as personal tools, there are still big chance we need to have collaboration function as well.

For my real instance this morning, my wife was asking for my two tasks I "assigned" to her last night(I made in my OF), I couldn't easily share from OF to her, then frustratingly I have to manually copy the content of tasks, then put into Evernote, then share notes to her. or I have to send email to her, but that way, we will not have tracking at all. What if she needs to make changes to the tasks?

I could have more examples of these incidents in my life, I am running small business, there are often some outside contractors I have to work with, the communications between them, sometimes, I need to share with the tasks with them as well.

My team member need collaboration in earnest, we are using wrike, it works pretty well via web, I am looking forward to seeing a change on OF, I own all OmniGroup products, I really want to see how OF can combine with OP(OmniPlan) become a strong competitor of wrike in near future.



Best Regards,
Aaron Liu

Asterion 2012-05-02 11:45 AM

Collaboration in OF now a deal breaker, I'm afraid
 
Hi,

Just to echo the sentiment stated above. After years as an OF users (and previous to that, a Kinkless GTD / OmniOutliner user), I am having to drop OF due to it not supporting group collaboration in an effective/reliable way.

Basecamp is too simplistic for us, in terms its GTD capabilities, so it's looking like we will probably be moving to Rule [url]www.rule.fm[/url] (at least that appears to be the current plan).

We would love a desktop solution to this collaboration issue (ideally, OF — especially with its good iPhone/iPad support). The web app approach lacks the security that we require, but in a trade off with no collaboration at all, we're having to just 'lump it'.

Maybe when Omni finally get round to addressing the group collaboration issue we can move back... However, perhaps this is unlikely.

So goodbye, OF. It was pretty great while it lasted.

Best of luck.

A

kimono 2012-05-19 10:12 PM

collab...
 
It sure would be good to see something like the Evernote arrangement. Thick client with local database that syncs, but a functional web interface that allows sharing with other users. Some sort of 'basic sharing' which would be available to web users who don't have OmniFocus, to allow cross platform collab.... Also to allow me to access my OF for those times I don't have access to a Mac or iPad.

I'm only evaluating OF right now and the lack of Collab. & web UI is a concern. But if I knew that something was on the roadmap, it might just get the purchase over the line for me.

Other than this I am sold on the contexts, forecasts and focus...

Hopefully this discussion continues!

danwall1010 2012-05-23 08:21 AM

Hi All,

Just to echo all of the above comments I am in day 2 of my trial period and already the lack of sharing is a real barrier to signing up for the full package. We run a number of training centres spread across a county and OF would be perfect if it had collaborative features to allow sharing of tasks and updates.

I am looking now at Toodledo, a web based to do list application which on first glance is not as powerful as OF but does allow sharing. Is also much cheaper (or Free!).

I think with capacity to collaborate I would still go with OF but for the moment will have to look elsewhere. Will look on developments with interest!

ramatsu 2012-05-24 10:51 AM

Yer killin' me here
 
I appreciate the discipline with which Omni has stuck to the single user model. Too few people understand what Steve Jobs expressed: It's not just the thing you do that makes you successful, it's the 1000 things you choose not to do.

That said: Yer killin' me here. OF is the ONLY task manager I've ever really adapted and used, because of ease of task entry, and geo-location of task recall. Those are the things you do so well.

But I want to use it for my business and personal life, and since I can't, I actually have fallen out of the habit of using it. The best tool I've ever found for this, and you're driving me away from it into far inferior products that let me selectively share project tasks.

Let me be clear: OF is ALREADY a multi-user product, because that's it's best use, whether Omni wants to recognize it or not. It's just a painfully hobbled one.

Here's a scenario I used to use constantly: My wife and I have OF on our Macs & iPhones. I'm working at my Mac. My wife is out running errands. I realize that I need to get x. Shortcut key, type x, tab, type context, tab, type "today", return.

When my wife arrives in the area that x is sold, and checks her OF list, x is there, noted as due today. She picks it up and my whole problem was solved in a handful of keystrokes at the moment I remembered I needed something.

Elegant, simple, a thing of beauty. It changed my life. (And yes, it works the other way around, do tasks for my wife when I'm out based on OF.)

My business partner uses OF for all his stuff, and used to be religious about it.

But the frustration that I can't share tasks with him, without exposing him to the hundreds of items in my personal projects, has driven us both to use other products, losing our OF habits.

I think the frustration is enhanced by looking at all the time that went into features for iPad that are aimed at people who don't mind spending as much time managing their lists as getting things done*, and the fact that every modern product under the sun is moving to cloud based sharing models. We're using a cloud-shared task app that looks like the whole company's net worth is probably less than the cost of adding sharing to OF.

Sorry for the vent, it's just that I so WANT to have OF integrated into my life like it used to be, and while I agree that discipline and focus is critical in product design, I think you've decided not to do 1001 things - one too many.

Allen

*Yes, I realize that's an unjust troll, and may not really be true, but it's true for me. I'll cede to any countervailing perspectives on this, since I would hate to be the source of a needless debate about it.

whpalmer4 2012-05-24 12:21 PM

If you and your wife both have the Mac and iPhone versions, just keep the Mac running and use the Mail processing feature to email actions into each other's databases. See the topic "Processing Mail messages into actions" in the OmniFocus for Mac help.

What's an example of a feature for OmniFocus for iPad that you view as intended for people who don't mind spending as much time managing their lists as getting things done? That sounds like a feature that didn't get enough time to me!

analoggab 2012-08-18 06:52 AM

[QUOTE=ramatsu;110727]
But the frustration that I can't share tasks with him, without exposing him to the hundreds of items in my personal projects, has driven us both to use other products, losing our OF habits.

[...]We're using a cloud-shared task app that looks like the whole company's net worth is probably less than the cost of adding sharing to OF.
[/QUOTE]

I'm exactly in the same boat as you. Love and trust OF but as more and more collaborative projects are entering my life, I need to find another solution.

Could you share with us what solution you're using right now?

Arthaey 2012-10-02 11:22 PM

[QUOTE=ramatsu;110727]But the frustration that I can't share tasks with him, without exposing him to the hundreds of items in my personal projects, has driven us both to use other products, losing our OF habits.[/QUOTE]

+1

My husband just asked me if I could share my household tasks project with him. So now I'm suddenly in the same boat, wishing for sharing of projects and tasks without sharing [i]all[/i] of my personal OF data.

felipehangen 2012-10-03 12:26 PM

getFlow
 
I've been asking for the collaboration feature forever..

And found this nice alternative (not perfect, but good enough).
getflow.com

jeremyskelly 2013-02-28 01:17 PM

This collaboration feature is the only reason I can't convince my boss to buy this for our whole team.

We're using Wunderlist right now instead. Its simple and lacks some of the awesome features of Omnifocus, but I can share lists with people and can sync my lists to all my devices.

cellmatrix 2013-03-07 08:07 AM

[QUOTE=felipehangen;115509]I've been asking for the collaboration feature forever..[/QUOTE]

I hear you.

I've been waiting for this for years (I joined here over 5 years ago - when OF1 was in beta) and still not even a hint of any tasks/project collaboration in OF2.

I finally found workflowy.com has what I need: projects/task collaboration, categories, cloud sync/backup, iphone app, works offline and the overhead is so much less than OF.

enginerd 2013-04-25 08:39 PM

[QUOTE=cellmatrix;121158]I hear you.

I've been waiting for this for years (I joined here over 5 years ago - when OF1 was in beta) and still not even a hint of any tasks/project collaboration in OF2.

I finally found workflowy.com has what I need: projects/task collaboration, categories, cloud sync/backup, iphone app, works offline and the overhead is so much less than OF.[/QUOTE]
Our organization recently adopted Asana and I have to say, I'm really impressed. Their development cycle is very aggressive, adding features quickly. They have API hooks for creating your own apps from the database, and from a productivity standpoint they allow group collaborative projects, with a nicely integrated discussion platform. It's easy for project managers to check in on the velocity of employees or projects.

It's not available offline, which is a bummer, and there are no start dates which is a major bummer.

Rather than have asana incorporate all the things I love about OF, I would just love to see the ability to share projects/actions with other OF users. What a dream it would be to tie my "CTO agenda" context in with his inbox, and when he processes it it completes the task in mine.

Maybe one day :-)

Renato 2013-12-17 10:56 AM

+1 on collaboration! i love OF, but its hard to work with my team!
i really need to find another solution since OF can't help me with this! Please OmniGroup! ;)

Renato 2013-12-24 06:44 AM

+1

Its the only thing that is missing for me on OF


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