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Request for "dependent tasks" Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I just started using OF and I'm loving it so far. I love that it seems streamlined yet flexible. Great job.

Something I noticed a need for as I've set up my extensive project list... dependent actions. I love that a project can be set up to be either serial or parallel in terms of when a task becomes available. I find that, for most of my projects, I have a mid-sized list of actions. Most of these actions can be started right away but occasionally an action is dependent on one other task. I know that I could manage this with subprojects even when I have large projects with subprojects I'm running into a need for sub sub projects to handle this. For now, I'm just putting some of these one off dependent tasks in a waiting for context and then updating the context during a daily review when the task they were dependent on was completed.

Shanana
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shanana View Post
Something I noticed a need for as I've set up my extensive project list... dependent actions. I love that a project can be set up to be either serial or parallel in terms of when a task becomes available. I find that, for most of my projects, I have a mid-sized list of actions. Most of these actions can be started right away but occasionally an action is dependent on one other task. I know that I could manage this with subprojects even when I have large projects with subprojects I'm running into a need for sub sub projects to handle this. For now, I'm just putting some of these one off dependent tasks in a waiting for context and then updating the context during a daily review when the task they were dependent on was completed.
This is one area that I struggle with also. I currently use combinations of parallel and sequential subprojects to get almost the precedence that I want. Currently my deepest project is 4 levels deep. But I also tend to punt future actions into catch-all subprojects to keep them out of the way. That works reasonably well, especially since the future actions often evolve as I get closer to them.

Do you have any thoughts on how dependent actions could be made less complicated than parallel and sequential subprojects? I haven't been able to figure out how dependent actions might be handled in the UI without adding something like Gantt charts as in OmniPlan.
__________________
Cheers,

Curt
 
Quote:
Do you have any thoughts on how dependent actions could be made less complicated than parallel and sequential subprojects? I haven't been able to figure out how dependent actions might be handled in the UI without adding something like Gantt charts as in OmniPlan.
I struggled with this a bit and it is a tough one. I wouldn't want to see things get overcomplicated and the parallel/sequential system as it is, is very functional in most circumstances.

After more thought I realized that this is only really an issue in the parallel projects. Imagine a case where you have something like this deeply hypothetical project:

Project: Make soup
Chop carrots and add to pot
Chop onions and add to pot
Chop potatoes and add to pot
Chop garlic and add to pot
Chop tomatoes and add to pot
Add stock to pot
Get Basil from the garden
Chop Basil and add to pot
In this project all the actions can be done at any time except the basil which needs to be gotten from the garden first. Yet, in an example like this it seems more complicated than necessary to create a subproject for "adding basil". Mostly because there is only one action and creating a subproject means I need to make another entry to "house" the project. In the name of efficiency I don't like having to do that all the time.

Plus, For some reason I'm having trouble elevating to project status and then keeping it a "sub-project" although that is likely due to me needing to just spend more time getting the flow down on how to properly deal with the sub-projects. I take the task and make it a project but then when it becomes a sub-project (after dragging it into the project housing it) it takes on a hybrid project/task nature. It has a check box even though it isn't a task and it doesn't show up in context (as it shouldn't) but in the project view it takes up space as a next action unless you manually check it off. This means that real next actions in a squential project with sub-projects don't get made active in contexts unless you go and manually check off the sub-project as done. This is tangential but another reason I want to try and avoid too many subprojects. In my workflow I find I use folders for "over projects and house normal projects in them and this keeps my workflow smooth and projects organized pseudo hierarchically. Until completing all of the actions in a sub-project means that the sub-project container is automatically marked as complete, I will not be able to trust sub-project to not ball up my system and cause me to miss potential next or available actions.

If there were an option on action in parallel projects where you could select the option to make that action dependent on the one directly preceding it in the list, that would be helpful. With it selected then that action would only appear "available" when the one before it was done. With that option you would be able to create a little sequence of actions within a parallel project or just have one of dependents here and there.

I don't know what would be involved in terms of the back end to make this possible. Others might find logistical flaws in this too given their workflows.

Cheers,
Shanana
 
The whole issue of what to do when all the items in a subproject are complete is pretty sticky. You'll find strenuously argued positions for many approaches to this. See this thread for example. (I'm strongly in the camp of adding the parent action to the context list once its children are complete. I'm even more strongly opposed to auto-completion of parent tasks, because I don't always plan out every step in advance.) In short, the handling of subprojects is still an open issue and the Omni gurus are planning to make changes in that area.

Continuing your hypothetical example, I might make the Soup project sequential, with Get Basil as the first child, and Put Stuff in Pot as the second child. Put Stuff in Pot would be a parallel action group with all the other actions under it. Alternatively, if you don't mind starting the soup before getting the basil, you could select the two basil-related tasks, press shift-G to group them, and enter a quick action group description.

It takes awhile to get used to this style of planning, but it's really quite powerful.
__________________
Cheers,

Curt
 
Quote:
I'm even more strongly opposed to auto-completion of parent tasks, because I don't always plan out every step in advance.
Great point and one I totally missed at this early stage of getting things implemented. I do the same in terms of often adding as I go through the project so you are right that at auto completion would be a nightmare. I remember seeing a suggestion somewhere for a way to highlight all projects with no next actions remaining. That would be helpful wouldn't it.

Thank you for the suggestions on the handling of nesting projects. I'll give that a test drive for a while and see what happens. I'm definitely not at a trusting the system stage yet although it is mostly due to me not figuring out how I want to use it than there being anything seriously lacking in the app.

Cheers,
Shanana
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shanana View Post
I remember seeing a suggestion somewhere for a way to highlight all projects with no next actions remaining. That would be helpful wouldn't it.
I have a script that will check for such projects and prefix any with "Missing NA". This lets you use the search box in the tool bar to quickly find all such projects. I run the script in my daily review.

You can download the script from my software downloads page.
__________________
Cheers,

Curt
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by curt.clifton View Post
I have a script that will check for such projects and prefix any with "Missing NA". This lets you use the search box in the tool bar to quickly find all such projects. I run the script in my daily review.

You can download the script from my software downloads page.
Sweet script Curt! Thank you. I admit I saw that script there before when I downloaded your (also sweet template populating script) but I don't think I appreciated the significance of it at the time. I just put it to use and it really really saves me time and gives me a little peace of mind that everything at least has got a moving part and is therefore potentially... well, moving.
Thanks,
Shanana
 
 


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