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Why is a stalled project considered active? Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I frequently have projects that start with a waiting action that is waiting for another project to finish.

For example, the project "Build Shed" has a first action "Waiting for 'Take down Trees' project to be finished". This action is set to "Waiting".

I review my waiting actions every day and when I finish the "Take down Trees" project, this first waiting action of "Build Shed" will be checked off. Once the waiting action is checked off the project is no longer stalled.

I do this so the project is tracked but not available.

I could put it on hold, but that doesn't keep track of the dependency between the two projects.

I could put a future start date on the project but again there is a dependency between the projects, and I don't know exactly when the first project will be finished.

I suppose I could put both projects under one project named "Back Yard" but then I have one huge project and these are clearly two separate projects.

This is the best way I've found to track projects that have some type of dependency between them.

But the question is, why is a stalled project listed under the "Active" projects? Stalled projects are those that have no available action, so aren't they intrinsically unavailable? I would rather not see a project listed under "Active" projects if there are no actions I can actually do.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lynchs61 View Post
But the question is, why is a stalled project listed under the "Active" projects? Stalled projects are those that have no available action, so aren't they intrinsically unavailable?
I think it has been found useful to be able to identify and list projects which are still designated as 'active' by the user, but don't have any remaining tasks. 'Stalled' is simply the term that has been chosen for this intersection of project conditions. Its definition in OF 1.8 is:

"active but has no remaining actions"

or in Applescript terms:
projects where (number of tasks is number of completed tasks) and (status is active) and ((effectively hidden of its folder is false) or (its folder is missing value)) and (singleton action holder is false)
In earlier builds it was a little more complex - I believe something like:
projects where status is active and ((number of tasks is 0) or ((its number of tasks > its number of completed tasks) and (its number of available tasks is 0))) and singleton action holder is false and ((effectively hidden of its folder is false) or (its folder is missing value))
(Remember that 'active' status is essentially a user choice, rather than a computed condition. Unless, in Preferences, you have checked "When completing the last action - mark the project or group completed", you have to manually change a project's status from Active to On Hold|Completed|Dropped).

--

Last edited by RobTrew; 2010-08-30 at 10:30 AM..
 
I understand, thank you.

Personally I don't agree with the idea that a project with no available actions should be viewable under the "Active" Project filter. In my mind and for how I use Omnifocus, this just doesn't make sense. But as you point out active is a user choice, so I guess I just have a different idea of what active means.

Having said that, in my daily Omnifocus use I'd rather not see stalled projects. Any idea on how to accomplish this? Basically for daily use I'd like something that would give me the equivalent of an "Active but not stalled" Project filter.
 
If you are running OF 1.8 (currently sneeky peak builds) and don't mind temporarily hiding your folder structure, you could experiment with an applescript along the lines of:

Code:
tell application id "com.omnigroup.omnifocus"
	tell front document
		set lstNotStalled to 
			flattened projects where 
			(status is active) and (number of available tasks > 0) 
			and ((effectively hidden of its folder is false) or (its folder is missing value))
		set focus of front document window to lstNotStalled
	end tell
end tell
--

Last edited by RobTrew; 2010-08-30 at 12:41 PM..
 
The way I handle this is:
if a project is stalled, I want to know about it and add actions to it to move it toward completion. Personally, I use a modified version of Curt's Stalled script to find stalled projects and stalled actions groups (an action group that has no children).

Everyday, I run the script to find projects & action groups that are stalled. If I find some that are stalled, I either complete them or add actions to them. Then they are not stalled and moving forward.

A stalled project is an active one, but has no chance of moving toward completion.

To sum up:
An active project is one that I am moving forward on; trying to complete. If an active project is stalled, I want to know about it and add actions to get it moving again.

If I am not planning on immediately moving on a project, I change the status to Hold. (Someday/Maybe in GTD terms)

For me, a stalled project is:
A project with no actions
A project with action groups and no actions
A project with actions that have no context

A stalled action group is:
An action group with no child actions.
An action group with a child action group that has no child actions.
An action group with a child action that has no context

-Project A -stalled-
--Action A (no context) -stalled-

-Project A -stalled-
--Action group A -stalled-

-Project A -stalled-
--Action group A -stalled-
---Action (no context) -stalled-

-Project A (parellel)
--Action group A -stalled-
---Action (no context) -stalled-
--Action group B
---Action with context

-Project A (sequential) -stalled-
--Action group A -stalled-
---Action (no context) -stalled-
--Action group B
---Action with context
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobTrew View Post
I think it has been found useful to be able to identify and list projects which are still designated as 'active' by the user, but don't have any remaining tasks.
Previous posters captured it pretty well: the intent here is to help you find (and hopefully un-stall) goals you've said you want to accomplish - active projects - but which currently have no way forward.

If we made stalled projects inactive, something you said you wanted to do could disappear off your radar screen entirely. That seems bad - I'd prefer to see something too frequently, rather than not frequently enough. The former is a minor irritation, but the latter can incur real-world consequences, like angry emails to the authors of the software that they're using. ;-)

In any case, if you'd like to get those projects off your active list temporarily, I'd just add a start date in the fairly short term - "friday", "next week", etc. That gets 'em off your active list for a while, but ensures that they don't stay that way too long, either.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lynchs61 View Post
I frequently have projects that start with a waiting action that is waiting for another project to finish.

For example, the project "Build Shed" has a first action "Waiting for 'Take down Trees' project to be finished". This action is set to "Waiting".

I review my waiting actions every day and when I finish the "Take down Trees" project, this first waiting action of "Build Shed" will be checked off. Once the waiting action is checked off the project is no longer stalled.
One solution would be to reverse your dependency.

To use your example, right now you keep the "Build a Shed" project active with an initial task that says "Wait for Tree Removal project".

Instead, put the "Build a Shed" project on hold and add a final task in the "Tree Removal" project that says "Activate the Build a Shed project". This would be the final task before closing the Tree Removal project. This way the shed project will be hidden just as you desire and you won't lose the dependency on the active project.

You can also have more than one dependent projects waiting on the active one, just make an additional task for each one that needs to be activated when done. This has the benefit of easily tracking how many projects are waiting in a single location. The last three tasks in the "Take down trees" project might be:

- Activate "Build a Shed" project
- Activate "Paint fence" project
- Activate "Plant new hedge" project

A quick look at the tree removal project and you instantly know what the dependencies are and you can keep the other three projects on hold and hidden until those tasks are done.

The other benefit of this approach is that it preserves the definition of "stalled" projects and keeps the usefulness of identifying and fixing stalled projects as mentioned by the earlier posters.
 
 


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