Originally Posted by tah
My problem is that of a small business and consulting firm. I have 24 projects tasked out for this year. But I have no idea how to organize the task timelines for the projects, when I can fit a new client in, when I can realistically tell someone all the tasks will be done for their project, or how to audit projects for how much time I actually did spend, etc.
I agree; I don't think that OF is really designed for predicting when a particular project will be done or schedule out when projects will be completed. It is also obviously unsuited for time auditing.
On the first issue, people's personalities about this may differ, but my personal view is that building up timelines far into the future ends up hurting projects, because some things take too long and now you are behind on all of your deadlines. Obviously, you have committed to certain completion times with your clients. Nonetheless, in my view, if you have 24 projects, at least one of them is going to take longer than expected. At which point having allocated time to all of your projects while assuming that they would complete on time, to me, seems like it went out the window.
In contrast, I used a of-like system as a law clerk, which requires adhering to strict deadlines on multiple ongoing projects from lots of different clients, which seems quite like your situation of having to juggle clients. I think that the benefit of the OF system system is that, when things take longer than expected (but you haven't yet missed a deadline), your entire plan isn't now overdue. Rather, the system tells you what your upcoming obligations are at that point in time, for you to figure out a way to manage them. Said another way, for me, when I planned out time on everything in a task list, before long everything on the list is overdue.
Having said that, some method of visualizing the volume of upcoming obligations--for dashboard, in my view--I think would be valuable.
On the time auditing issue, I think you just need to get time auditing software. I can't imagine that OF is ever going to be appropriate for that very specialized task.