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Single tasks as project groups & context vs project group Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig
But [David Allen] also states that any objective that requires more than one step is perforce a project. This is what I've struggled with in implementing GTD in the past: is

- look up movie showtimes @web
- call Mario re: movie tomorrow? @calls

really a project?
It depends on how you got it into your system, and what you're focusing on. If it pops into your head "Oh, I need to call Mario about going to a movie tomorrow", you jot that down. Then you realize, "oh, wait, before I call Mario, I should have a few ideas about movies and times, so I need to 'look up movie show times'" and you jot that down.

Either you can then make "See movies with Mario" a project with two items (seemingly overkill here), or you can make "look up movie show times" an action item of "call mario".

Unfortunately, if you do the latter, you end up with the "action group" and once you've cleaned it up, that action group doesn't show up in the Projects list.

Worse yet, the action "look up movie show times" never shows up as a next action (it shows up as a "remaining" item), and even when you check it off, "call mario" never shows up as a next (or even remaining) action: it's (seemingly) lost for good.

This behavior might simply be a bug, but it underscores the importance of treating items with consistency.

(I suggest you try reproducing this yourself, as it wasn't the behavior I was expecting:

1. Create an action "Call mario about movies", context @calls
2. Create an action "Look up showtimes", context @computer

(use your own contexts, they aren't the important bit here.)

3. In your Inbox, move "Look up showtimes" under "Call mario..."
4. Clean up your Inbox
5. Find the "Call mario" or "look up showtimes" action as a "next" or "available" filter.)
 
Mark,

Quote:
Originally Posted by markbrown00
couldn't you just make the last action of the task group something like: "verify that MacBook Pro is adequately set up"?
That's close, but not quite there. If I added that to the task group (recall it was parallel), then that action would show up before it was actionable. But I could add it as a subsequent action after the task group. If OF implements the proposed skipping behavior, then the action would be "Verify that MacBook Pro is adequately set up and, if so, check off the previous action group." (Not that I'd write all that, but it is what would practically need to happen.) If OF implements the auto-complete behavior for action groups, then the action would be "Verify that MacBook Pro is adequately set up and, if not, switch project view to all actions, add an action to the previous action group, uncheck the action group, and switch project view back to remaining actions." Whew.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markbrown00
I really feel constrained by the current behaviour. It degrades the trustability of my system in a different way: tasks waiting for a task group to be completed are hidden until my weekly review. Skipping would be ok; autocompletion (perhaps with a preference to turn it off) would be the most intuitive.
I'm not arguing for keeping the current behavior. I really want the top action of the action group to show up in context view when the children are complete. But I prefer the current behavior to autocompletion or skipping because the work-around is simpler. If someone can convince me that autocompletion doesn't require perfect planning, then I could be swayed that it's the right choice. Skipping action groups just seems bizarre.

Craig, I'm definitely not arguing for action groups to become full-fledged projects. If I need full-fledged project functionality, then I promote the action group.
__________________
Cheers,

Curt
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasong
Either you can then make "See movies with Mario" a project with two items (seemingly overkill here), or you can make "look up movie show times" an action item of "call mario".
Actually, what I would do would be to make a "See movies with Mario" task group with two items, within my Singletons project, and that seems to work.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by curt.clifton
I'm not arguing for keeping the current behavior. I really want the top action of the action group to show up in context view when the children are complete. But I prefer the current behavior to autocompletion or skipping because the work-around is simpler. If someone can convince me that autocompletion doesn't require perfect planning, then I could be swayed that it's the right choice. Skipping action groups just seems bizarre.
I agree completely with Curt here, as I think I mentioned on another thread back in May or June. Autocompletion is, I think, a recipe for disaster except for those who plan every step of a project-like entity (which is, for better or worse, what an action group is). Since, as Curt pointed out earlier in this thread, you can assign contexts to action groups, why not have the group appear in its context once all the actions assigned to it are done? If it is truly done, you can just check it off to get rid of it.

Life Balance does this, and I thought it is one of the more elegant touches in that application.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brianogilvie
I agree completely with Curt here, as I think I mentioned on another thread back in May or June. Autocompletion is, I think, a recipe for disaster except for those who plan every step of a project-like entity (which is, for better or worse, what an action group is). Since, as Curt pointed out earlier in this thread, you can assign contexts to action groups, why not have the group appear in its context once all the actions assigned to it are done? If it is truly done, you can just check it off to get rid of it.

Life Balance does this, and I thought it is one of the more elegant touches in that application.
I for one don't use the "default context" feature with action groups. (If the actions that follow would all have the same context, chances are pretty good I would just make them one action - "look up address, directions, and hours for frame shop" as one @web action, not three.) For that reason, I'd be happy if the context assigned to the action group heading defined not the default context for the subactions, but rather the context in which it should appear to verify that it's done (if OmniFocus goes that route).

Not only would that mean losing a feature I never use - it would also intuitively feel more right, since what you're assigning to the action group in the context column is the same kind of thing that you assign to individual actions in that same place.

Do the rest of you find the default context setting for action groups useful?
 
As long as we're voting, I'm with Curt -- make the parent of a group of actions pop into context view when all of the children are complete. (And yes, I like my action groups to have a default context, if for no other reason than so I don't have to enter one for the children if they're the same.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig
Do the rest of you find the default context setting for action groups useful?
I mostly stopped using default contexts after I got the wrong context on a few too many tasks.

Perhaps action groups could have a context-menu-accessible default context (making them slightly more project-like) and a regular context that is used for adding the group patriarch to the context list. Then my Update OF-Mail Scripts action group could have a default context of "Computer -> Problem Solving" and a regular context of "Computer -> Planning". After I complete the last action in the group, the next time I'm in planning mode I can decide if the scripts are completely finished, or else decide on the next action.
__________________
Cheers,

Curt
 
Well, could they assign the task-group/subproject/whatever entity to the same context as the last task to be completed in that group - that way, when the last task in it is completed, it would show up right after you check off that last task and in the same context and you don't have to go hunt it down?

Say you have the following action group and tasks (with context in parentheses):

Pack Carry-On Bag
- Buy duffle bag (Errands)
- Wash jeans (Home)
- Check TSA restrictions (Online)
- Write checklist (Computer)
- Pack items in duffle and check off list (Home)

So, you make this action group, as seen above, and it sets the context of the group to (Home) because that's the bottom item in the group. After you complete all the tasks, Pack Carry-On Bag will appear in the Home context, so you don't have to go looking for it, and you can decide whether you've completed the group or not.

At any point you could add a task to the bottom of the list like:
- Weigh bag, must be under 40 pounds (Work)

...and the context of Pack Carry-On Bag would switch to Work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by curt.clifton View Post
I mostly stopped using default contexts after I got the wrong context on a few too many tasks.

Perhaps action groups could have a context-menu-accessible default context (making them slightly more project-like) and a regular context that is used for adding the group patriarch to the context list. Then my Update OF-Mail Scripts action group could have a default context of "Computer -> Problem Solving" and a regular context of "Computer -> Planning". After I complete the last action in the group, the next time I'm in planning mode I can decide if the scripts are completely finished, or else decide on the next action.
(I still intend to comment on subprojects, but things have been busy.)
 
This is causing problems with my workflow. I like action groups, and how they let me intermix parallel and sequential steps. But the fact that action groups hang around, invisible in the context view, blocking the next action of the project, is really causing problems. It's bad that a grouping mechanism causes my project to grind to a halt until I review all my projects. (Usually I'm working with a focussed enough view that I can say "Hey! Where did the rest of my 'register for conference' project go? *(#@% action groups." and fix it right away. But that's a problem.)

My request:
- action groups *can* be set to auto-complete when their children are checked off
- they are *not* forced to auto-complete
- if not on auto-complete, the action group heading appears with the context of the last child (maybe as long as the default category is not set), possibly in a different colour text, or with some way to distinguish it from actions

It seems to me this might satisfy everyone---those who want to use groupings transparently, and those who want to use action groupings to trigger planning. (But it can't be a global preference, because I use them both ways).

Will send this as formal feedback, unless people can convince me this is bad functionality.
 
 


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