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Basics ? Project Dates vs Action Dates Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Folks :

Having OF for almost 6 months of "real/day to day use", something has keep me concerned about what I believe are "basics" :

- If a project has 5 actions, sequencial by default : why can I put a date on the project ? Shouldn't that be a field to be taken from the actions ? I mean, it makes sense to set dates for the actions, and then look up for the project to see how can it reflect the "posible due date" or "possible start date", depending on the sequencial / parallel choices of the involved activities, right ? (Just like and decent Project tool, like OP does). Does that makes sense ?

- If I have a sequencial project : wouldn't it be nice if after the first action (and once you set up start / due dates for that action) the next action forces you to have a start date AT LEAST after the due date of the first action ?

Don't know ... things I believe would be GREAT to make OF even better !



Saludos
AM
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by amg View Post
- If a project has 5 actions, sequencial by default : why can I put a date on the project ? Shouldn't that be a field to be taken from the actions ? I mean, it makes sense to set dates for the actions, and then look up for the project to see how can it reflect the "posible due date" or "possible start date", depending on the sequencial / parallel choices of the involved activities, right ? (Just like and decent Project tool, like OP does). Does that makes sense ?
The project's due date is inherited by the actions, so setting a due date on the project means you don't have to individually set due dates for all the actions if they aren't earlier than the project's due date. What value do I get by putting in a bunch of due dates which are identical to the project's due date? Most of the time (for me, at least), the actions themselves don't have a specific due date, it's just the project that needs to be completed by a deadline. Yes, if I don't notice during my review that I'm now assuming I'm going to do 48 hours of work in the next 6 hours, I'm going to miss that deadline, but a point of the review is to avoid that sort of scenario.

Quote:
- If I have a sequencial project : wouldn't it be nice if after the first action (and once you set up start / due dates for that action) the next action forces you to have a start date AT LEAST after the due date of the first action ?
How would this be an improvement? If I want the start date so that I don't see the remaining actions in an available actions view, the sequential nature of the project will accomplish that as well. If I want a start date on each action so that it shows up in a "Starts today" group, I can just select all the actions in the project and give them the same start date in the inspector when I create the project or look at it during the review. Also, why would the start date necessarily be after the due date of the previous action? Oddly enough, I do occasionally get things done before the due date, though I try to avoid making a habit of it :-) Forcing the start date of the next action to be no earlier than the due date of the previous action would cause progress on that project to halt whenever something was done ahead of schedule. Perhaps I'm not understanding what you are proposing...how about an example?
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by amg View Post
If a project has 5 actions, sequencial by default : why can I put a date on the project ? Shouldn't that be a field to be taken from the actions?
One benefit of the current approach: OmniFocus looks at an action and all of its parent rows when deciding what status to apply, using the earliest date it can find. With this system, even if I screw up and put a late deadline on one of the actions in the project, the due date on the project is still going to kick in and enforce something resembling the one I actually wanted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amg View Post
If I have a sequencial project : wouldn't it be nice if after the first action (and once you set up start / due dates for that action) the next action forces you to have a start date AT LEAST after the due date of the first action ?
Well, this is one of the four different types of dependencies that OmniPlan supports. We do want to add in some more guardrails that protect folks from the mistakes that the current setup allows, but I don't think forcing them to only use Finish-to-Start dependencies would go over very well. :-)

(For folks that don't use OmniPlan, the other dependencies are Start-Start, Finish-Finish, and Start-Finish; first task must do X before second task can do Y)

I guess "sequential" is really sort of an oversimplification here. "Not parallel" doesn't seem like a good choice, and given that some folks already think OmniFocus is too complicated, I don't know if we want to add a fourth type of project. :-)
 
Thanks Palmer and Brian for your comments !

Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
The project's due date is inherited by the actions
Really ? Is this something you setup in OF ? Is it "visible" for each activity involved ? I created a brand new project, did as you suggest (set up a due date for the project), and created 2 actions, sequential, leave the due date field empty ... checked latter with the inspector : for each activity involved, the due date field is empty ... how can I see this ?

Regarding the other comment, I still see the benefits of such an approach, although I also see Palmer's point. I think what Brian says about the 4 different types of dependencies that can exist would, probably, create more complexity than necessary ... OmniPlan manage then beutifully, by the way ... probably that complexity is avoidable in OF !


Thanks !

AM
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by amg View Post
Really ? Is this something you setup in OF ? Is it "visible" for each activity involved ? I created a brand new project, did as you suggest (set up a due date for the project), and created 2 actions, sequential, leave the due date field empty ... checked latter with the inspector : for each activity involved, the due date field is empty ... how can I see this ?
The field of the action isn't filled in. However, if you switch to a context-mode perspective that sorts or groups by due date (for example, the Due perspective), the actions will be sorted/grouped according to the inherited due date.
__________________
Cheers,

Curt
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by amg View Post
Really ? Is this something you setup in OF ? Is it "visible" for each activity involved ? I created a brand new project, did as you suggest (set up a due date for the project), and created 2 actions, sequential, leave the due date field empty ... checked latter with the inspector : for each activity involved, the due date field is empty ... how can I see this ?
Yes, I should have been a bit more detailed instead of forcing Curt to step in with clarifications, sorry!

One difference between an OmniPlan Finish-Start dependency and what you were proposing for OmniFocus (start date forced to be after due date of previous action) is that OmniPlan doesn't hide the next action from you until its scheduled start time. One can start working on it immediately when the previous action is finished (presuming, of course, that the estimation of how long the previous task would task being off didn't affect when necessary equipment, materials, etc. would be in place to support working on the next task). It seems to me like if one had a feature like you proposed, the start date on the next action should be updated at the time of checking off the previous action (similar to how the start date/time for a repeating action based on completion date is done). I don't know that I would want that behavior all the time, however, and then you open up the can of worms of how to specify which actions/projects should be treated this way. I can't really point to anything in the OmniPlan inspectors that shouldn't be there, but it is much more pleasant dealing with the OmniFocus inspector, with its compact set of options! I fear that it will not always be so :-)
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by amg View Post
Is it "visible" for each activity involved ? I created a brand new project, did as you suggest (set up a due date for the project), and created 2 actions, sequential, leave the due date field empty ... checked latter with the inspector : for each activity involved, the due date field is empty ... how can I see this ?
Sorry, should have mentioned in my first response that the UI doesn't make it at all clear that the app is doing this; we don't regard the status quo as ideal. It's on our list of things to revisit in future builds. :-)
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian View Post
Sorry, should have mentioned in my first response that the UI doesn't make it at all clear that the app is doing this; we don't regard the status quo as ideal. It's on our list of things to revisit in future builds. :-)
I spent a few minutes yesterday scratching my head wondering why the action with a due date in June was showing up in my overdue list in the middle of April. I am used to the inheritance behavior with actions that don't have their own due date (the usual case for me), but this one had a due date (and no, it wasn't LAST June!), and OF was (rightly) bringing it to my attention that the action's due date was beyond the project's due date. It took me a while to figure out why it thought this action due 2 months from now belonged in the "due today" bucket, but I figured it out before I finished submitting a bug report! :-)
 
 


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