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I manage a small group of people and I am looking for input on how to best manage the projects that are assigned to others. I need to keep a "stake in the ground" for the project and add occasional next actions such as, "how is project x coming?" or "add this or that to the project y."

In a dream scenario, I would have a program such as OmniPlan in which everyone could update their projects and then sync up with their individual OmniFocus DB's. Until version 2?, I'll have to come up with another strategy.

After buying OmniFocus and OmniOutliner for everyone and seeing their confusion in trying to implement it, I have decided to be software agnostic. However, I do expect everyone to keep a project list of active and "on hold" projects.

All of that being said, how do you track projects assigned to others in OF?

One possibility is to create a folder in my OF database for each person on a team and have projects with 1 next action and/or due dates for milestones that I need to make sure happen. I want to look at their projects no more than I have to. . .

Another option would be to keep the projects of others in OmniOutliner or OmniPlan.

Another option is to have them update a shared google spreadsheet with a sheet for each person on the team.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve View Post
I manage a small group of people and I am looking for input on how to best manage the projects that are assigned to others. I need to keep a "stake in the ground" for the project and add occasional next actions such as, "how is project x coming?" or "add this or that to the project y."

In a dream scenario, I would have a program such as OmniPlan in which everyone could update their projects and then sync up with their individual OmniFocus DB's. Until version 2?, I'll have to come up with another strategy.

After buying OmniFocus and OmniOutliner for everyone and seeing their confusion in trying to implement it, I have decided to be software agnostic. However, I do expect everyone to keep a project list of active and "on hold" projects.

All of that being said, how do you track projects assigned to others in OF?

One possibility is to create a folder in my OF database for each person on a team and have projects with 1 next action and/or due dates for milestones that I need to make sure happen. I want to look at their projects no more than I have to. . .

Another option would be to keep the projects of others in OmniOutliner or OmniPlan.

Another option is to have them update a shared google spreadsheet with a sheet for each person on the team.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
Here's what I do with this exact same problem.

I create a context for each employee. I create a project for whatever they are working on that I need to follow up or assign actions to. When I create an action, I an assign it to the context of the employee and then to the appropriate project.

At our monday morning staff meetings, I then pull up the context and go over each item if they don't report on it. I can also do the same by project which may have one or more of my employees working on it.

Finally, I wrote (or modified) two applescripts that create an email in mail.app for the action I'm in. I can then email it to them directly with a request for status. When they follow up by return email, I can then use my second script to copy that email (or the link to it) into the notes part of the action.

This works really well and it, I think, how GTD intended it to be used.

J.
 
John,
That sounds like a really good workflow. Thanks for confirming the direction that I am moving toward. For me it is a tricky balance to spend enough time paying attention to what they should be doing, but not too much. I also don't want to get my system bogged down by looking at things that I'm waiting for.

Do you remember where you found the applescripts? That sounds intriguing.

Steve
 
just send me a PM with your email and I will email them to you.

J
 
I do what john suggested as well. Although for me I assign a mixture of bugs and projects with tasks to a bunch of developers. I have a special "not assigned" context for bugs that should be assigned to someone later on. I have noticed that if I assign too much on any one person, the speed of development slows down. If he is only working on a couple of things he can really focus on that and he knows Im tracking it closely and the task also seem more important. I have a folder for a particular milestone. I move projects and tasks out of that folder. I flag stuff that must be fixed for next release. Everything not flagged is desirable but not a must. If I notice that one guy is not in top shape that morning I might give him a couple of easy tasks that he can finish off in short time. That puts him into a flow and kick starts him so I can assign a tougher task later on. I am a bit sly that way perhaps but it really works. I assign using skype, email and just talking. I also play with on-hold contexts, naming conventions, "won't fix projects" and record a history in the notes section of each action item. I live mostly in planning mode for this. My approach has a lot of micro management to it but works well for me.
 
Colicoid-- thanks for the interesting and helpful response.

John, I sent the PM.

Thanks,
Steve
 
I, too, manage a team and projects. There are two reasons why making "people" into contexts does not work effectively for me:

1) Sometimes a task item involves more than one person (at least at my organizational level) or
2) My own work context will be differ when handling the person-assigned tasks (some by email, others in person, etc.).

OF does not let you have multiple contexts for a single item. That being so, I'm forced into a choice: organize my work by people even though some parts of that work will, in true GTD sense, vary contextually or organize my lists by contexts by making people into projects defeating, of course, any true project view.

The only good solution for managers who need more flexibility are modifications to OF or use of another product where people are handled as a separate item. A good example of the later approach would be iGTD (though further development is stalled). It lets you do projects, contexts, and assign items to people. Personally, I think there's much to commend OF if it would just add a little more flexibility by adding the option (turned off or on) to have the element "people" as part of the things an item can have.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by embeal View Post
Sometimes a task item involves more than one person (at least at my organizational level)
Maybe you could assign people as contexts and then nest them inside another context (let's call it Team A). Then assign Team A as the context for the multi-person task. Would that work?

Quote:
Originally Posted by embeal View Post
I think there's much to commend OF if it would just add a little more flexibility by adding the option (turned off or on) to have the element "people" as part of the things an item can have.
This is planned in the near future.

-Dennis
 
I have a People context tree for individuals (with entries like People : Omni : Michaela), and a Teams context tree for teams (with entries like Teams : OmniFocus or Teams : Managers). When I'm meeting with individuals, I look at their individual context; when I'm meeting with a team, I look at the corresponding team context.

I'm not saying that you have to have a whole separate context tree for your teams (I participate in a lot of teams), but have you considered using a similar approach of using a separate context for your team?
 
I ran into the same problem when assigning a bug to two people that they were going to work together on.
Most often you can make one person responsible for the task or at least make him the driver. Then, in case of amnesia, I might put in the note of the task: assigned X to help Y with this task. If the team is small like this it can work pretty well.
 
 


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