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Cross-project leveling wasn't part of the 2.0 release, but an important step along the way to that feature - Project Syncing - was. Hopefully, that's some consolation. :-)
Obviously there is something being missed in your product development cycle? I've read the entire thread... and what is missing is an appreciation that people have been asking for what we all consider the "key" feature in a PM app... FOR 3 YEARS! You have votes and posts since 2008 and all you guys have been doing is saying... your vote is in... your vote is counted... and now "consolation", as in you acknowledge the major oversight and you're throwing your users a bone?

Come one guys... why are you handling your development with such a lumbering microsoft-esque way?
Smart companies provide solutions without leaks. Quickly and efficiently.
Smart companies think forward, planning for the future.

Omni has a serious achilles heal. True collaboration is something your application doesn't do.

It's unfortunate that the best designed app is missing the most important feature.

Last edited by dr.sadrieh; 2011-09-23 at 05:55 PM..
Originally Posted by dr.sadrieh View Post

Omni has a serious achilles heal.
Where is the heal located? ;-)
True collaboration is something your application doesn't do.
We must have different ideas about what "true collaboration" is. OP 2 is chock full of collaboration features, such as the support for syncing documents, accepting/rejecting changes from multiple users, getting resource availability from calendars, etc. What it lacks, and what everyone else in this thread is requesting, is support for managing resources over multiple projects. That isn't collaboration, as it is equally useful for a single user.

You can see the votes in this thread, but you can't see the votes made elsewhere, so you really can't conclude much about the relative popularity of this request. There's not much reason to believe that Omni would choose not to build a feature that was more requested than any other.
As a consultant that has had to try to help numerous people find solutions to their workflow, it would appear what seems to be missing is the ability for multiple DIFFERENT users to log into a project.

Clients want to see their task assignments, delegate tasks to others, and have a set of permissions so that certain users or groups can view or not view specific tasks or projects.

Daylite does this, but their interface is much too complex for efficient task entry.

I've had many executives who don't use Gantt charts - in fact, some of them feel that these types of project management systems are old school, and reserved for Boeing-types. Whether that is an accurate description or not, many of these people now do project management the way OmniFocus handles tasks - they manage their products this way. Unfortunately OmniFocus doesn't handle any kind of multi-user setup.

And not to digress from this thread, it appears that OmniPlan has gotten much closer to this request, but it still appears like it's lacking to it's fullest extent.

I personally have never understood why there are so many great applications that continue to be primarily built for the solo-user. There are enough of those out there. It seems to me that development houses are missing the mark by not building their application as multi-user capable right out of the gate, rather than trying to retro-fit that into the product 5 years later, when it's much more difficult to do.

Users should not necessarily have to invent workarounds to make the product do what they really would *like* it to do. The products should just be built with that vision in mind.

As we continue to see more and more de-centralized computing environments, offices that are mobile, people who work together yet live in multiple places in the world, I think developers at large should be focusing on the bigger picture. At least in a true multi-user environment, the solo user is taken care of, yet so are the requests of the teams who need to share or delegate various tasks or projects with each other.

And furthermore, its getting a bit tiring to see companies add a bunch of "blue sky" features into some of their products, but still fail to address some of the very much needed fundamental issues that users are requesting. I'm not trying to point the finger at Omni, it's just something I've noticed in general. There are a bunch of great apps that "almost" do what users need, but not quite.

And the urgency to get the apps ready for that market never quite seems to be there.

Last edited by epmadsen; 2011-09-24 at 01:50 PM..
Companies build what they think most customers want, within the constraints of development budget (time, money, and personnel) and what they think they can successfully deliver. Trying to build the perfect product that satisfies everyone from the first release is a fool's errand. It takes too long, allowing the competition to steal all of the customers (who generally need something now), and it prevents you from learning anything from the customers (because you don't have any). If you try to build something too ambitious, you are likely to end up with a product that isn't useful for anyone.

OmniPlan 2 does support multiple users editing and updating the project. The project manager can even monitor the changes and individually areject them as necessary. There's also work underway to integrate it with OmniFocus to dole out the tasks from the overall project to the individuals responsible, with completion data automatically returned to the project manager via OmniPlan. It isn't in the product yet, but I've had a chance to play with parts of it, and it will be a very useful arrow in the quiver, even for solo practitioners.

No, OmniFocus was not built as workgroup software, and as the bulk of the customers do not need to use it that way, it would have made little sense to not ship until such features were ready. More than 100,000 copies sold tells me they were right not to wait. How many sales would have been lost to the competition if they had waited until they had a full groupware implementation to sell? The incremental approach also allows the project to fund its own development, which cuts the financial risk considerably. Finally, everything a solo practitioner needs is likely to be needed in a multiple-user product, so you can start helping much of your customer base much sooner while you are trying to figure out the right approach to building the multiple-user product that will convince the world that yours is the one to buy.

Frankly, if building the better mousetrap was so easy a route to guaranteed commercial success, someone would have done it by now!
Its interesting: I remember working at Microsoft long ago, and then finally branching out into the field of consulting for the last 12 years or more.

Clients always used to ask me why Entourage didn't allow the users to sort on First Name / Last Name. When I asked the PM of Entourage why this was the case during a beta test cycle, they told me they had interviewed their customers and that wasn't a necessity.

Interesting, because in the circles I ran in, it totally was a necessity. So my question was - who were they interviewing, Grandpa Joe and his poker club? Because business people found it frustrating that there were these limitations.

I'm not knocking your points, but you can't rationalize why something is missing for an entirely different client base. Just because it sold "100k copies" doesn't mean that it isn't lacking some necessary criteria to be able to sell maybe another 250k copies.

In this day and age, there is a shift in the way executives do business. Omni has been around long enough to understand this, especially as one of the first OS X developers.

It's fine if they want to continue to make solo-style applications, but they're missing an entire market segment of people that are asking for something more. Eventually, just like Daylite, the market will start to move away to something else when someone finally does get it right.

If Apple were to have interviewed potential customers and asked for what they were looking for, they'd probably be just like everyone else. The key is for companies to visualise where the future is going and what people are seeking - sometimes before they even *know* that they're seeking it.

Like it or not, multi-user apps with functionality like OmniPlan and OmniFocus are severely lacking. I can attest to this because I deal with lots of clients in the entertainment industry that are frustrated that they can't work in a true multi-user setup with apps like OmniFocus, and instead feel relegated to apps like Daylite that they find cumbersome and inefficient.

And having come from a client/server development background, I still feel that it's more difficult to add the multi-user capability down the road rather than build it like that from the beginning so that it can be scalable - even if they decided not to enable the functionality until later.

That's just my .02. I see people that love Omni stuff, but find it lacking and therefore seek other options. And until they actually release a full-on multi-user capable application (not a psuedo multi-user capable app), they'll never really know.


Last edited by epmadsen; 2011-09-25 at 01:15 PM..
This argument you're advancing is very similar to the argument advanced by others about why Omni should be developing for Windows (and for that matter, the people who think they should sell the software for a much lower price). The answer is the same: they are interested in building the best software they can, not chasing after every last possible dollar of revenue.

The sales figures (which are very low, as I'm quoting numbers given to me more than a year ago) indicate that they are giving quite a few customers what they want, right now. Omni gives a money-back guarantee on its products, so they have some skin in the game.
Not being able to view staff across multiple projects is a deal breaker. Add this feature, and I'll buy the product. Leave it out, and I won't.

Why? I need to coordinate staff in a small office with a large-ish number of projects. I can't assign work to someone if I don't know what else he's working on.
You should read this thread if you haven't already done so:

In particular, Ken has some suggestions about how to use resource availability calendars.

I don't know if you're a mole/employee for Omni, or simply a person that wants to be "right" and defend your POV. I appreciate that you're trying to come up with reasons "why" the software is the way that it is, but regardless - the apps fall slightly short for many businesses.

At one point I figured I might give some quotes from Steve Jobs on his idea of supplying software and hardware to customers, and mention some perspectives from the 37Signals guys, especially from their book Rework, but then I figured that would be a waste of time.

Small businesses & enterprise customers are tired of Gantt-based project management systems, would rather be doing task-based project management, and are in need of a true multi-user application.

Everything else outside of that is a lame workaround.

My consulting company and our clients find it frustrating and unfortunate that Omni brings almost everything they need to the table that they want and need, except for the ability to be a true collaboration task-based project management system. People *want* to use this software and *can't*.

We can rationalize and make excuses all day long, but it doesn't change the fact that the full solution is nearly there, yet they are missing the mark by neglecting this fundamental requirement in this market segment.

But trust me when I say the industry as a whole doesn't need another single-user-based project management system. There are already a ton of them out there. The best that people can hope for is a web-based system, and they fall short for a variety of reasons as well.

Omni can continue to debate and discuss whether or not they should retrofit their apps with true multi-user capability, or they can simply get busy and build in the functionality... or not, I guess. Problem is, they've set the bar high in most other areas (functionality and UI to name just two), and there aren't any other apps that behave in this manner, otherwise people would be discussing them and using them. It's frustrating for users to have an app that delivers *almost* everything that they need.

Omni should be happy that there are existing and potential clients who are frustrated about this and demand this feature. It shows that they care, that they like Omni, that they don't want to use mediocre crap, and they are seeking more from the software that they'd like to manage different aspects of their businesses.

If the functionality were implemented into the application, it wouldn't create "less" market penetration or be abandoned by the existing users. It would only become more viable to a wider audience.


Last edited by Brian; 2011-10-10 at 04:28 PM.. Reason: removed ad hominem.

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