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Parent Action Does Not Show in Contexts: Contact Omni Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I cannot see the reasoning why parent items with completed children will not show up in contexts.

I have contacted Omni, who instructed me to make a plea with the forums if I thought this was an important fix.

Here is why hiding parent actions when all they have are completed children is not a good idea.

1. You loose the parent item.
2. Entire projects can become stalled because the user wasn't aware of all the parent items that need to be completed, because the parent items aren't showing up in the contexts.

My suggestion:
1. Parent actions with completed children should show up in contexts.
2. Create a filter for parent actions with completed children, so I can see all parent actions that either need more children, or need to be completed.

Contact Omni if you think this is needed.
 
I use Curt's great script to " verify next actions exist " ..
Hopefully Omni will build this in eventually .
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiralOcean View Post
...Here is why hiding parent actions when all they have are completed children is not a good idea.

1. You loose the parent item.
2. Entire projects can become stalled because the user wasn't aware of all the parent items that need to be completed, because the parent items aren't showing up in the contexts.
Item 2 is not true any more. A few weeks back OF changed so that action groups with all children completed do not block subsequent tasks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiralOcean View Post
My suggestion:
1. Parent actions with completed children should show up in contexts.
2. Create a filter for parent actions with completed children, so I can see all parent actions that either need more children, or need to be completed.
I originally argued strenuously for your first suggestion in an extremely long thread back in July (I think). But I've come to appreciate the current behavior. The trouble with having the parent show up in contexts is that the new non-blocking action group behavior would no longer be appropriate. I think the current implementation strikes a reasonable compromise, certainly better than auto-completing the parent as some have suggested. Unfortunately, the current design is a little hard to intuit. I can imagine new users being very confused by the logic of when an action does or does not show up in context view or block a sequential project.

Others (BZ, I think) have suggested some formatting to indicate that an action is the last one in a group or project. I think that would be ideal. Right-clicking such a last action might bring up a menu with choices like Complete, Complete and Add Action to Parent, or Complete and Complete Parent. I also think that a filter in Planning view for items lacking next actions is needed. My scripts fills that gap for now, but it really should be baked in.
__________________
Cheers,

Curt

Last edited by curt.clifton; 2007-09-15 at 01:56 PM.. Reason: Grammar, or lack thereof
 
As has been mentioned previously in the forum, LifeBalance shows the parent action when the last child is checked off. At first, this feature annoyed me; checking it off seemed like an extra step I had to take. But there have been too many times when the parent pops up and I realize that some last-minute action does need to be made before I’m REALLY done; it’s one of those “OMG! What about...” moments. I’m a little scared that something is going to get past me. Having the parent reappear gives me the power to decide when something is truly completed. So I vote for this feature.
 
Thanks Curt... always a pleasure.

I'm glad they changed the behavior for parent items with completed actions.

I cannot imagine any good characteristic, of having a parent item with completed children not showing up in contexts? Why would a person want the behavior to be like that?

How does that help the application or user in any way?

The non-blocking action would not effect whether or not the parent item shows up in a context or not?

Let me put out an example:

• All Computers in Server room are hooked up to KVM
••troubleshoot 360 image server not displaying correctly on KVM-Work
••Order monitor cable for streamscope-Internet
••Order Gender changers for KVM cables-Internet

Okay... so there is my project. Definitely not a linear project.

I get to my Internet Context, and order the monitor cable for streamscope.
Now I have a waiting for that I need to track.
So the project looks like this:

• All Computers in Server room are hooked up to KVM
••troubleshoot 360 image server not displaying correctly on KVM -Work
••Order monitor cable for streamscope -Internet
•••waiting for monitor cable for streamscope to arrive -waiting for
••Order Gender changers for KVM cables-Internet

Adding a child to the Order monitor cable for streamscope, hides the parent item.

I can continue working on other items in the project.

When the monitor cable comes in, I am going through my waiting for items, and I complete the waiting for item.

In my perfect world, the parent item should appear again. When I see it in the Internet context, I will think... that's complete, and complete it.

In the non-perfect world where we live, the parent item is now hidden... forever... until I do my review.

This is a very simple project example... and there aren't large consequences for forgetting to check off that I received the item. But for more critical time sensitive projects, this behavior makes me not trust my system, and suddenly I'm always reviewing all aspects of a project because I can't trust that OF is going to show me what I need to see?

<large breath>

Can you show me another way to work with waiting for items?

In the meantime, I'll go back to using your script. I was using it before, but something in it broke and I haven't gone back to it yet.

That script is a god send.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by philmur View Post
As has been mentioned previously in the forum, LifeBalance shows the parent action when the last child is checked off. At first, this feature annoyed me; checking it off seemed like an extra step I had to take. But there have been too many times when the parent pops up and I realize that some last-minute action does need to be made before I’m REALLY done; it’s one of those “OMG! What about...” moments. I’m a little scared that something is going to get past me. Having the parent reappear gives me the power to decide when something is truly completed. So I vote for this feature.
Yes! Thank you Phil!
 
I still don't know why OF hasn't put in some way to look at projects that have no children to complete. Either a filter or the project should show up in the contexts so I know I can either complete it or add children.

Makes me wonder how much Omni folks are using the application?
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiralOcean View Post
I cannot imagine any good characteristic, of having a parent item with completed children not showing up in contexts? Why would a person want the behavior to be like that?
The issue is that the parent might not have a context assigned, in which case it wouldn't be actionable and so wouldn't appear. I used to think that assigning a context to the parent wouldn't be that big of a deal, but now I see it as extra "system management" work. Another issue is that if the parent is in a different context than the completed action, the project can also stall.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiralOcean View Post
The non-blocking action would not effect whether or not the parent item shows up in a context or not?
Well, technically no. It's just that if the parent action is going to show up in context view, then it seems strange that the subsequent "aunt" action would also show up. Said another way, the current design is for the "leaves" of a project to show up in context view. So if I have a sequential project with sequential action groups, then the leaves--items without any children--are actionable in top-to-bottom order. It would be a bit strange for a fully sequential project to have multiple actions in context view.

I fully understand your example and made all the arguments that you're making. See these threads: 1, 2, 3. Partly I consider the battle lost, or perhaps a partial victory since auto-completion of parents wasn't implemented. But mostly it's that in practice I've found my action groups are usually sufficiently completely planned that a daily check for the existence of next actions suffices. I think some UI tweaks to let me know that I'm checking off a last action would be sufficient. If the UI also let me simultaneously add a new next action or check off the parent, then I'd be a happy GTDer indeed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiralOcean View Post
In the meantime, I'll go back to using your script. I was using it before, but something in it broke and I haven't gone back to it yet.

That script is a god send.
I'm glad you find the script useful (for new readers, it's available here). It broke for a day when Omni changed the AppleScript interface a couple of weeks back. Ah, the joys of alpha.

(It still amazes me that this alpha software is so good that I'm trusting it with dozens of active projects and hundreds of actions in the middle of the busiest time of my year. Those OmniGurus have some powerful mojo.)
__________________
Cheers,

Curt
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiralOcean View Post
I still don't know why OF hasn't put in some way to look at projects that have no children to complete. Either a filter or the project should show up in the contexts so I know I can either complete it or add children.
Shouldn't you catch these in your daily or weekly review? Part of the point of the action/project distinction in GTD is that a project can't show up on a context list, because it's not the kind of thing that can be completed by a single physical action.

Curt's script to identify projects with no actionable items is useful for this kind of review. But scanning your project list doesn't hurt, either.

Your suggestion would collapse the distinction between planning and doing; that might not be a bad thing for you, but some people prefer to keep them distinct. Personally, I find it's awfully tempting to do more planning on one project than to actually get things done on the 50 other projects I have on my plate. One big advantage of GTD is that it discourages me from planning as procrastination!
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brianogilvie View Post
Your suggestion would collapse the distinction between planning and doing; that might not be a bad thing for you, but some people prefer to keep them distinct. Personally, I find it's awfully tempting to do more planning on one project than to actually get things done on the 50 other projects I have on my plate. One big advantage of GTD is that it discourages me from planning as procrastination!
Interesting... I see my suggestion as separating the planning from doing more.

The problem with the way it is now is... I can't just do. I get to a action in a context, I perform it, but it's not completed yet because it needs a waiting for.

So I flip over to the projects to do some planinng... adding a waiting for.

Then when I complete the waiting for...
I have to either:
1. Filp back over to projects to mark the action item as complete
or
2. Write myself a note to remember to go back to that project to make sure I don't have any unfinished tasks.
or
3. have a nagging feeling in my mind that I can't trust the system and need to do a daily review of my projects to make sure there aren't any stuck items.

My goal is to have a planning stage one time a week.
Not every day.
I want to have a weekly review, and during the week burn up those actions in the contexts.
 
 


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