The Omni Group
These forums are now read-only. Please visit our new forums to participate in discussion. A new account will be required to post in the new forums. For more info on the switch, see this post. Thank you!

Go Back   The Omni Group Forums > OmniFocus > OmniFocus 1 for Mac
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

 
Tasks with subtasks vs. Projects with subprojects Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I've been using OF for a few weeks now and am really liking where Omni is going with this product. I have, however, come to a slight roadblock in how the current implementation handles folders, projects and tasks. Maybe I'm just missing how to create subprojects, since I can easily create subfolders and subtasks.

I'm an experimental scientist (molecular biology, that kind of stuff) and I am often working on what I would consider to be parallel subprojects of a main project to determine which is the best approach solving a particular problem within the main project. At some point, one or more of these parallel subprojects will get dropped or put on hold. Where OF is falling down for me is that ONLY projects and NOT tasks (or folders) can be dropped or put on hold. It appears that tasks can only be "completed or deleted."

I would much prefer an organizational structure of projects with subprojects that contain tasks (without subtasks) than the current lack of subprojects. I think that a structure with subprojects also better matches the GTD definitions of projects and tasks.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thomasgchappell
I would much prefer an organizational structure of projects with subprojects that contain tasks (without subtasks) than the current lack of subprojects. I think that a structure with subprojects also better matches the GTD definitions of projects and tasks.
I second this. Proper subprojects would also have next actions that would show up properly. I don't bother setting up complicated projects right now because the next action filter never works out right. Using folders for the top level of complicated projects is not always helpful either, and here's an example why:

I want to design and sew a baptismal gown for an infant. This kind of a project has a lot of different steps and things to consider, and I used both sequential and parallel projects in putting it together.

Project (sequential): Baptismal Gown
Subproject (parallel): Design
Sub-subproject (sequential): Create Pattern
Tasks
Sub-subproject (sequential): Hem embroidery design
Tasks
Sub-subproject (sequential): Chest embroidery design
Tasks
Sub-subproject (parallel): Supplies & Materials
Tasks
Subproject (sequential): Purchase Fabrics
Tasks
Subproject (sequential): Make Gown
Tasks

Okay. The top level is sequential, because I have to design the gown before I can purchase fabric, and I have to purchase fabric before I can actually sew it together. Because of this sequence, the top level MUST be a project, I can't use a folder. Individual experiments work this way, (generate samples, then do experiment, then analyze data), so folders aren't particularly useful.
The Design subproject is parallel because there are several different design elements that are independent of each other. The two areas of embroidery and the actual gown pattern are sequential, but my supplies and materials are parallel.
Once I finish the design, things are straightforward, of course.

Right now, when I filter by next action for this project, I only get one - the very next step to be done to create the pattern. But while designing the hem and chest embroideries are equally important subprojects, I don't see their next actions. And if I filter by available actions, I get overwhelmed by the full list of supplies and materials.

Thomas can't use a top-level folder containing a bunch of projects, because the entire project he's working on could be deferred or even dropped at some point (God forbid!), and you can't defer or drop folders. And sub projects can't be deferred or dropped individually if he uses one project. Right now he can get one piece of functionality, but only at the expense of the other, but he really needs both.

I'm sorry this was so long, but I couldn't figure out what was driving me crazy about subprojects until his post. There no real subprojects, i.e. things that can be held or dropped, and have their own next actions.
 
Thomas,
If your "main project" doesn't have any tasks (but only subprojects) couldn't you put all the subprojects in a folder and consider the folder the "main project"? That might work within the OF structure as it currently is. [Edit: GeekLady brings up a good point about the top object not being a folder, since the subobjects need to be sequential. Good point! Which means my following statement still holds.]

However I agree with you that the current project/task/subtask design is poor.

Last edited by pvonk; 2007-07-12 at 12:33 PM..
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pvonk
Thomas,
If your "main project" doesn't have any tasks (but only subprojects) couldn't you put all the subprojects in a folder and consider the folder the "main project"? That might work within the OF structure as it currently is. [Edit: GeekLady brings up a good point about the top object not being a folder, since the subobjects need to be sequential. Good point! Which means my following statement still holds.]
It very quickly becomes a big kluge that doesn't work if I try to do this. If "project 1" (which now has to be folder "project 1" in folder "lab experiments") has a subproject on hold, then it is hard to adjust the indentation of other projects in "lab experiments" that might have a sub-subproject on hold, rather than a subproject. It ends up like Dante's Inferno, with "projects" in different levels of folder hell.
 
It seems we're all organizing our projects with collections of tasks and are being frustrated in doing so. In my case I have a folder for the Boat sphere of my life and it has projects like Haul, Launch, Repair, and Maintenance. Once upon a time I had a specific subproject in Repair called "repair water wheel". I wanted to put that "project" on hold, but like Tom (is it OK if I call you Tom?) I did not like the choices of Delete or Complete. My kluge was to make it a Project in it's own right, but now it sits on par with Repair and not beneath it.

Furthermore, if I move that task collection out of the Repair project and into the project list using command-[ it goes at the bottom and not in the folder Boat.

And another thing: sometimes I have task collections—with the bold type and disclosure triangle—and sometimes I have uncollected tasks (ie. uncomplicated)—which are non-bold (and of varied colors and italics depending on the next-action and availability status). My eye thinks that all these items which are "on the same level" in the task "outline" should either behave the same and not have different fonts or they should not behave the same and appear as they do. I know I can change the fonts to my liking, but I'd prefer to help OF.alpha get it sorted out.

Here's a weird one: Move Boat is a task collection in the project Launch in the folder Boat. Now that those tasks are done for the year, when I view the Boat projects "arranged" to show Remaining tasks, the collection in bold with the disclosure triangle is there, but there are no tasks visible within/beneath it.

Should I be giving up on task collections and just have very long project lists? It seems at least some of us writing here have avoided that approach and find task collections intuitive.

I would rather see task collections behave more like projects than tasks, appear differently, and respond to the completion of all their true tasks. Often, the syntax I use makes the task collection the final task as well. "Move Boat" is the actual act of moving the boat, but part of making that happen involves phone calls, tide checks, last minute fixes and purchases, etc., so I would like to feel good and check it off myself when that is actually done.

I think I've said these things before, sorry to bore anyone.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeekLady
I second this. Proper subprojects would also have next actions that would show up properly. I don't bother setting up complicated projects right now because the next action filter never works out right.
Quite right. Having subprojects (plus, in an ideal world, 'hard linked' actions that can appear in several projects simultaneously) would make OF an order of magnitude more powerful than it already is.
 
Yet again, I agree.

Subprojects would neatly solve my Next action issues as well.

GeekLady's example is similar to my life though I would never sew a baptismal gown! Life is complicated, and OF needs to be able to deal with that complexity.

--Liz
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LizPf
Yet again, I agree.

Subprojects would neatly solve my Next action issues as well.

GeekLady's example is similar to my life though I would never sew a baptismal gown! Life is complicated, and OF needs to be able to deal with that complexity.

--Liz
Well, I figured a sewing project would be more approachable complicated project than an actual experiment - Thomas might be the only person that understood what I was talking about!
 
I don't want to list anymore examples, but I have come across this limitation repeatedly.

Sub-projects would be a welcome addition, or conversely, make tasks that contain sub-tasks more flexible. There is definitely something missing in the current system.
 
GL,

When you created your baptismal gown project, were you able to create real sub-projects? If so, how do you do it? All I have been able to enter under a project are actions and sub-actions. When I try to indent a project it becomes an action.

I'd like to be able to break a project into sub-projects too in order to be able to have both sequential and parallel aspects of the task.

School classes would lend themselves to this. Last quarter I had classes with several major assignments going simultaneously.

The Sneaky Peak is great. It is so stable (no crashes or data corruption for me at all) and we can all try out so many different scenarios to test the model.
 
 


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
repeating projects/tasks when all tasks/subtasks are complete? djc225 OmniFocus 1 for Mac 1 2012-03-20 06:55 PM
Differences between subtasks and projects? noworriez1 OmniFocus for iPhone 5 2011-09-12 12:34 PM
Subtasks vs Projects on the iPad carlbolduc OmniFocus for iPad 1 2011-07-23 09:24 PM
Feature Request: Subprojects/Action Groups in Projects breadcrumb cebailey OmniFocus 1 for Mac 11 2011-04-12 09:08 AM
Folder for projects or subprojects with no actions SpiralOcean OmniFocus 1 for Mac 4 2007-11-24 10:35 PM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:35 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.