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  • Graphical task manager with support for dependencies

    Hi everyone,

    I'm currently working on a graphical task manager.
    Instead of having a list of tasks, the tool allows you to create a flowchart of your tasks. Based on this flowchart, the tool automatically generates a list of possible next actions.

    Do you think something like this could be useful?
    How do you handle dependencies in your current GTD system?

    Regards,
    Chris

  • #2
    There is a problem.

    Originally posted by C Staudenmeyer View Post
    I'm currently working on a graphical task manager.
    Instead of having a list of tasks, the tool allows you to create a flowchart of your tasks. Based on this flowchart, the tool automatically generates a list of possible next actions.
    There is a problem with software that automatically generates a list of next actions. You have to tell this program everything about each project and about your life and your priorities. It will take a while...

    Comment


    • #3
      At the risk of being too critical:

      I'm not sure exactly what problem this kind of software would solve. Laying out a flowchart of my tasks sounds time-consuming and difficult. Creating and managing a list of tasks in a project and identifying the next action has never been difficult for me.

      Selecting next actions isn't much of a problem either. Next actions are easily identified if you use GTD and choosing what to do is a question of context, time, energy, & priority.

      Comment


      • #4
        Not useful for me

        Originally posted by C Staudenmeyer View Post
        Instead of having a list of tasks, the tool allows you to create a flowchart of your tasks. Based on this flowchart, the tool automatically generates a list of possible next actions.

        Do you think something like this could be useful?
        How do you handle dependencies in your current GTD system?
        I wouldn't find it at all useful. Flowcharts are good for fixed outcome systems and hardly any projects outside of a software program to handle a specific task are that well known. By the time you enter in the flowchart data you already know what you need to do. Real world projects are more like fuzzy logic systems and flowcharting doesn't work well for that at all.

        Plus for me graphical representations of stuff are impossibly messy and hard to use. I don't think in graphical terms and trying to wrap my brain that way makes the entire task so unpleasant I'll do anything to avoid it. I don't use mind maps for that same reason.

        I currently use Omnifocus. Any dependencies are handled by making projects sequential or subprojects alternating sequential or parallel as required.

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        • #5
          The software you're describing is more like a formal project management tool. While some projects need that sort of heavy duty management and planning, the vast majority of your projects (as defined in GTD) in your life do not.

          In GTD the only two things you need are the reminders of your outcomes (the projects) and the very next physical action(s) you can take right now given available context, time and energy to move them forward towards completion. Your GTD system must be simple or you won't keep it current. Don't overcomplicate it.

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          • #6
            I agree - this sounds more like formal project management with proper dependency mapping.

            I handle dependencies on GTD 'projects' by creating a flat text list of all the things that I can think of for the project. If any have a dependency, I create a next action on the relevant context list to move forward on the dependency.

            For example, if I need to ask questions of another person before I can move forward, I either set up a meeting (2 minute rule), add to my agenda list for that person (if I see them regularly) or to my calls list.

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            • #7
              Speeding up by not using such a tool, if not really necessary

              David Allen recommends:
              1. Do not try to identify all the tasks to do, get just the next action needed to move on.
              2. Do this action, this will naturally move the project to the following steps
              3. Review list of your projects to be sure, your projects are having at least one next action (or you found them completed)

              I was trying to use such a tools you are thinking about and till I get rid of them, I was just playing with something, I did not need really.

              If you really like flowcharts - get a whiteboard or piece of paper - it is fast and effective method to clarify the situation (which will change very soon and make your old charts obsolete).

              I am also programming a lot and honestly saying - programming something was far too often just the excuse to avoid doing some real and important work.

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              • #8
                Thanks

                Thanks everyone for your feedback!

                Regards,
                Chris

                Comment


                • #9
                  Sounds great!

                  Hi Chris,
                  I think this sounds great. I was searching for exactly this kind of software, when I saw this thread. It might be that non-visual people don't need this, but I really miss it, 'cause I want to se better how tasks and projects are related to others.
                  I think it's strange that nobody hasn't done this before. I would love to se an app where i can make a flowchart for a project, and then switch to a task view, to start doing things.
                  SmartDraw is doing something like this, but only with a mind map. I think a Flow chart is more precise, and depenencies are a very typical issue in a project.
                  Would love to hear more about how far you have come with your project.

                  LK

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