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Hmm. There isn't a deep philosophical objection to the notion of dependencies, but I think the easiest interface to a set of tasks and their dependencies would be a graph, and we've already built a tool for editing such graphs.

Would you mind if I reverse your question? I guess I'm not sure I understand what the objection is to using OmniPlan. We've designed OmniPlan to be very approachable, so you can quickly enter a list of tasks (in a simple outline) and then indicate their relationships by dragging between them on the graph. (You can ignore all the rest of the complexity in OmniPlan until you need it.)

I thought there might be an issue with using OmniPlan due to its cost (which would certainly be an understandable factor), but since you just indicated that your wife would never use it even if you did buy it perhaps I'm missing some other concern?
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Case
There isn't a deep philosophical objection to the notion of dependencies, but I think the easiest interface to a set of tasks and their dependencies would be a graph, and we've already built a tool for editing such graphs.
I think for much of this conversation, it's difficult to talk about because we don't have something to refer to. So much of it is brainstorming and speaking from what we already know from applications out there.

There is probably some resistance to the notion of dependencies with Omni because they have a product called OmniPlan which they have put a lot of work into and they don't want to have their products compete with each other.

So much of this depends on how well the two will work together. But OmniPlan does seem like too much work to get your tasks into.

When it first came out I was salivating over it, but the more I used it the more I began to think it was too much work for managing... 2000 tasks. Which I have in my current system.

To manage that kind of tasks, an application needs to be fluid and quick. Entering and then dragging creates a lot of upkeep with the tasks.

Maybe I'll give it a try again, but to commit to an application, a user needs to feel when they spend 8 hours entering data, that they won't be locked into a nightmare of upkeep and still don't trust the system and end up abandoning it.

Another large reason for not adopting OmniPlan is each document is a plan. I want one software, where I can put everything into. My hub. A GTD definition of a plan is anything that takes more than one task.

I couldn't figure out how to work that out in OmniPlan. And I don't want to have 200 documents that I have to sort through.

OmniPlan would be excellent for reporting and visualizing... that's for sure.

I wonder how many people at Omni use GTD to it's full extent and have done the full sweep of putting everything into it... everything. Not just one or two projects, but everything in your world.
 
Just looked at OmniPlan again... and it has some great things in it.

I can include more than one context (if I use resources as contexts), but a simple checkbox for when the item is done was a big deterrent for me.

It doesn't allow me to drill down into contexts, like show me all the calls at work. I would have to create a home calls resource & work calls resource.

I like setting the hours, especially by typing, but trying to complete a task... well it's hard to see what's completed. I like how you can see how much of the task is there to complete and how much has been done, but to drag the mouse over is too much time. Unless it was a huge project I was working on. Checkboxes to complete at 100% would be nice.

Also, completing items in the resources area would be cool.

The scheduling around times is a great idea. But I have two different time blocks... work & home. Those are the big ones. If there could be multiple projects in one document and allow projects to reside in different time blocks... I may just switch over just for that. :-)

I love the idea of auto scheduling. One of my most difficult tasks is judging how much time I have to work on something and how much time it's going to take, and setting a realistic deadline with a client. This is soo close to be able to let me do that, but it doesn't take into account all the other things I am doing. Hmm... something like this with iCal may be nice. If it could read my appointments in iCal and schedule around that.

I'm very excited to see how OmniFocus & OmniPlan will work together. OmniPlan almost changed my world, I'm hoping OmniFocus & OmniPlan together will do just that. :-)
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Case
There isn't a deep philosophical objection to the notion of dependencies, but I think the easiest interface to a set of tasks and their dependencies would be a graph, and we've already built a tool for editing such graphs.
I disagree. I presented an interface suggestion in this thread that I think is far simpler than a graph. I have shown these interface ideas to people, and they (plural!) have gotten it immediately.

Remember, Im not talking about the same degree of dependency tracking that OmniPlan has; in particular, I think the dependency type information is too complicated for OmniFocus.

So, Im looking for a middle ground between no dependencies and OmniPlan, which has a great interface for what it does.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Case
Would you mind if I reverse your question? I guess I'm not sure I understand what the objection is to using OmniPlan.
Fair question! Cost is definitely a factor. However, for my work projects, it is conceivable that I would use OmniPlan for some projects.

But frankly, I think complexity is a factor, even for me. Especially for my non-work projects, I do not need the extra features of OmniPlan and thus do not want the added burden of using two separate applications to track what, in my mind, is a single entity.

And getting my wife to use OmniPlan is even less likely. Remember, shes the technophobe. I can barely sell her on using a computer and a few basic apps, let alone a pair of apps for a single purpose.

However, I firmly believe in getting real user feedback when designing interfaces, so I pledge to show OmniPlan to my wife and see what she thinks about setting up tasks and dependencies in it. I will report back.

But again, I want to stress that Im looking for the simplest possible solution to get OmniFocus to address my needs. And I think a bare-bones way of tracking prerequisites without a fancy graph view! would do the trick and would be simple. For that matter, I can think of even simpler graphical representations of my interface proposal. If youre interested, Ill try to mock something up.

Tim
 
I'm pretty new to the GTD system, but it fits better with me than other systems I've attempted to implement in my 15+ years of interest in personal productivity. I am beginning to use it with OmniOutliner, DevonThink, iCal and a Palm T/X. Time and time again, the biggest issue has been -- for me -- keeping the tools simple. For me, simple is superior.

Quote:
Originally Posted by michelle
We're experimenting with the idea of parallel vs. sequential projects. If a project is marked parallel, the actions can be done in any order. If a project is marked sequential, the actions must be done in a specific order. Regardless, your next action will always be the action at the top of the list (and you can reorder the list manually at anytime) Sound good?

Michelle
Omni Group
This sounds very good to me. OmniPlan is an option if I need to deal with greater complexity.

NOW FOR SOMETHING (ALMOST) COMPLETELY DIFFERENT

My only "NEED" not discussed in any of the threads is having OmniFocus implement, in some form, a feature of a (cludgy) product that I hate to love (called Life Balance). It isn't GTD, so it isn't really on task to bring it up. However, one feature in Life Balance is nice and doesn't necessarily conflict with GTD.

Specifically, I find it really useful to have my system (tasks/Life Balance) warn me that I'm losing track of some personal priorities (life balance) due to external urgencies/priorities. Is there any strategy inside of current plans for OmniFocus that might allow me to have the software suggest re-prioritizing based on personal values as Life Balance does? To me this makes a lot of sense, even though it would probably be a hybrid approach.

Does it make sense, at all-to anyone, to make this a separate thread, i.e. Life Balance strategy within GTD?

Last edited by bluebaltic; 2007-02-14 at 12:37 PM..
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tacartwright
And I think a bare-bones way of tracking prerequisites without a fancy graph view! would do the trick and would be simple.
OK, that seems reasonable enough. It won't be in 1.0 (we're trying to ship as soon as possible), but we'll definitely take a look at this afterwards.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Case
OK, that seems reasonable enough. It won't be in 1.0 (we're trying to ship as soon as possible), but we'll definitely take a look at this afterwards.
Yay! Thanks. And will you consider having the prerequisities affect the definitions of actionable? That would totally make my day, whenever it shows up.

[Added after first post:] And let me say on this thread, too, that I think it’s great that the Omni staff are listening to our discussions and taking them seriously — thanks, folks!

— Tim

Last edited by tacartwright; 2007-02-15 at 12:34 PM..
 
 


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